First published in 1924 by Yevgeny Zamyatin, We is a dystopian story about a future totalitarian state. The main character in the story, D-530 is the main builder of a space ship, Integral. D-530 is a philosopher mathematician. He likes everything to be numerically set in order. The United State he lives in fits the … [Read more...] about We
Born in Lebedyan, Russia in 1884, Yevgeny Zamyatin was the son of a Russian Orthodox priest and a musician. He didn't have any friends and spent his time with books. He would lay under the piano while his mother played and read books.
From the years 1902 to 1908 he studied naval engineering. While in school he joined the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were a Social Democratic Party that advocated the removal of power from the proletariat. For this reason he was arrested during the Russian Revolution of 1905 and sent to Siberia.
After escaping he went to Saint Petersburg and then to Finland where he finished his studies. In 1916 he was sent to the United Kingdom where he supervised the building of the icebreaker ships used to break through ice in the colder climates.
He returned to Russia in time for the October Revolution in 1917. During this time he wrote The Islanders and A Fisher of Men. Both of these satirized English life. He also edited journals and translated books by Jack London, H. G. Wells and others into Russian.
In 1911 he was arrested again for his writing. He was allowed amnesty in 1913. He wrote A Provincial Tale in 1913 that brought him some fame. But the next year he wrote At World's End which made the Russian Military look bad and he was sent to court. He also wrote quite a few articles for the Marxist newspapers. He also wrote short stories in the form of a fairy tale. The stories were used to put across a satirical criticism of Communisim.
When Zamyatin wrote We it met with a vast amount of controversy because of the censorship laws in place in Russia. He smuggled it out to a New York publisher. Where it met with acclaim. He also smuggled the original manuscript to Prague. The book received the Prometheus Award in 1994 in the Libertarian Futurist Society's Hall of Fame.
Yevgeny Zamyatin requested permission to leave the Soviet Union and become exiled from Joseph Stalin. Because he had antagonized so much of the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers, his exile request was granted. He wanted to flee the constrictions to writing and what he saw as a death sentence. He and his wife settled in Paris.
This was in 1931. Six years later in 1937 he died of a heart attack in poverty. There were only a small number of friends to mourn him at his grave. He was buried in Cimetiere de Thiais in South Paris.
Although his work was banned in his native country, Zamyatin was a great influence on future writers. H. G. Wells, Carl Jung, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Kurt Vonnegut to name a few.
Because so much of his writings were so critical of the Russian government and Communism, he was marked as one of the first Soviet Dissidents. Since he was a Bolshevik, Zamyatin was greatly troubled by the CPSU, or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.