He is most famous for his novel We , a story set in a dystopian future police state. In , We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Ultimately, Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication. The subsequent outrage this sparked within the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers led directly to Zamyatin's successful request for exile from his homeland.
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He is most famous for his novel We , a story set in a dystopian future police state. In , We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Ultimately, Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication.
The subsequent outrage this sparked within the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers led directly to Zamyatin's successful request for exile from his homeland.
Due to his use of literature to criticize Soviet society, Zamyatin has been referred to as one of the first Soviet dissidents. His father was a Russian Orthodox priest and schoolmaster, and his mother a musician. In a essay, Zamyatin recalled, "You will see a very lonely child, without companions of his own age, on his stomach, over a book, or under the piano, on which his mother is playing Chopin.
He may have had synesthesia since he gave letters and sounds qualities. He studied naval engineering in Saint Petersburg from until , during which time he joined the Bolsheviks. However, he escaped and returned to Saint Petersburg where he lived illegally before moving to the Grand Duchy of Finland in to finish his studies.
After returning to Russia, he began to write fiction as a hobby. He was arrested and exiled a second time in , but amnestied in His Uyezdnoye A Provincial Tale in , which satirized life in a small Russian town, brought him a degree of fame.
After graduating as an engineer for the Imperial Russian Navy , Zamyatin worked professionally at home and abroad. In he was sent to the United Kingdom to supervise the construction of icebreakers  at the shipyards in Walker and Wallsend while living in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Zamyatin later recalled, "In England, I built ships, looked at ruined castles, listened to the thud of bombs dropped by German zeppelins, and wrote The Islanders. I regret that I did not see the February Revolution , and know only the October Revolution I returned to Petersburg, past German submarines, in a ship with lights out, wearing a life belt the whole time, just in time for October.
This is the same as never having been in love and waking up one morning already married for ten years or so.. Zamyatin's The Islanders , satirizing English life, and the similarly themed A Fisher of Men , were both published after his return to Russia in late After the Russian Revolution of he edited several journals, lectured on writing, and edited Russian translations of works by Jack London , O. Henry , H. Wells , and others. Zamyatin originally supported the October Revolution, but opposed the increasing use of censorship which followed.
His works became increasingly satirical and critical toward the CPSU. Although he supported them before they came to power he slowly came to disagree more and more with their policies, particularly those regarding censorship of the arts.
In his essay "I Am Afraid," Zamyatin wrote: "True literature can exist only when it is created, not by diligent and reliable officials, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels and skeptics.
In , Zamyatin arranged for the manuscript of his novel We to be smuggled to E. Dutton and Company in New York City. After being translated into English by Gregory Zilboorg , the novel was published in Then, in , Zamyatin went much further.
To the fury of the State, copies of the Slonim edition began being smuggled back to the USSR and secretly passed from hand to hand. Zamyatin's dealing with Western publishers triggered a mass offensive by the Soviet State against him. As a result, he was blacklisted from publishing anything in his homeland.
We has often been discussed as a political satire aimed at the police state of the Soviet Union. There are many other dimensions, however. It may variously be examined as 1 a polemic against the optimistic scientific socialism of H.
Wells , whose works Zamyatin had previously published, and with the heroic verses of the Russian Proletarian Poets , 2 as an example of Expressionist theory, and 3 as an illustration of the archetype theories of Carl Jung as applied to literature.
Wells' utopias long before he had heard of We. In addition to We , Zamyatin also wrote a number of short stories, in fairy tale form, that constituted satirical criticism of Communist ideology.
In one story, the mayor of a city decides that to make everyone happy he must make everyone equal. The mayor then forces everyone, himself included, to live in a big barrack, then to shave their heads to be equal to the bald, and then to become mentally disabled to equate intelligence downward.
Jerome whose collected works were published three times in Russia before Max Eastman , an American communist who had similarly broken with his former beliefs, described the Politburo 's campaign against Zamyatin in his book Artists in Uniform. In , Zamyatin appealed directly to Joseph Stalin , requesting permission to leave the Soviet Union.
In this letter Zamyatin wrote, "I do not wish to conceal that the basic reason for my request for permission to go abroad with my wife is my hopeless position here as a writer, the death sentence that has been pronounced upon me as a writer here at home. Zamyatin settled with his wife in Paris, where he collaborated with French film director Jean Renoir.
Yevgeny Zamyatin died in poverty  of a heart attack in Only a small group of friends were present for his burial. However, one of the mourners was his Russian language publisher Marc Slonim, who had befriended the Zamyatins.
We , the Russian novel , directly inspired:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Russian author. Yevgeny Zamyatin by Boris Kustodiev His first name is sometimes translated as Eugene. Page 3. Mirra Ginsberg London: Quartet Books, Archived from the original on 22 August Archived 10 February at the Wayback Machine , July Retrieved 22 March Retrieved 15 June Knopf, pp. Literary St. Petersburg: a guide to the city and its writers. Little Bookroom, p.
Lexington Books, p. Inside George Orwell: A Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. Playboy Interview". The Language of the Night. Harper Perennial, p. Soviet dissidents. Categories : births deaths 20th-century male writers 20th-century Russian short story writers Imperial Russian emigrants to France Old Bolsheviks People from Lebedyan People from Tambov Governorate Russian communists Russian male novelists Russian male short story writers Russian satirists Russian science fiction writers Russian short story writers Peter the Great St.
Freedom and Happiness (Review of ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamyatin)
This material remains under copyright and is reproduced by kind permission of the Orwell Estate and Penguin Books. Zamyatin, who died in Paris in , was a Russian novelist and critic who published a number of books both before and after the Revolution. We was written about , and though it is not about Russia and has no direct connection with contemporary politics—it is a fantasy dealing with the twenty-sixth century A. A copy of the manuscript found its way out of the country, and the book has appeared in English, French and Czech translations, but never in Russian. The English translation was published in the United States, and I have never been able to procure a copy: but copies of the French translation the title is Nous Autres do exist, and I have at last succeeded in borrowing one. So far as I can judge it is not a book of the first order, but it is certainly an unusual one, and it is astonishing that no English publisher has been enterprising enough to re-issue it. Both books deal with the rebellion of the primitive human spirit against a rationalised, mechanised, painless world, and both stories are supposed to take place about six hundred years hence.
Dutton in New York. The novel describes a world of harmony and conformity within a united totalitarian state. We is set in the future. D, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State,  an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which assists mass surveillance.
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