We begin this “Metafamily” issue of Pacific Coast Philology with Tolstoy’s assertion, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (1). This truism from the opening of Anna Karenina is, while famous, famously not true. And not true in a number of ways, despite the attempts of psychologists, family counselors, and charlatans to quantify what makes for a successful marriage or family. Thinking about how Tolstoy gets this truism wrong is interesting, perhaps. But thinking about the following sentence from the novel, “All was confusion in the Oblonskys’ house” (1), might lead us to a more interesting place, given its focus on a specific family, on a specific moment, and on confusion. All families are happy, unhappy, and something else entirely, in turn or all at once, and in their own ways. Richard Flynn, in his essay “Happy Families Are All Invented,” states, “Families...

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