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Мы ➳ Мы Read ➻ Author Yevgeny Zamyatin – Thomashillier.co.uk The exhilarating dystopian novel that inspired George Orwell's 1984 and foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet RussiaYevgeny Zamyatin's We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced write The exhilarating dystopian novel that inspired George Orwell's and foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet RussiaYevgeny Zamyatin's We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand In a glass enclosed city of absolute straight lines ruled over by the all powerful 'Benefactor' the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState live out lives devoid of passion and creativity until D a mathematician who dreams in numbers makes a discovery he has an individual soul Set in the twenty sixth century AD We is the classic dystopian novel and was the forerunner of works such as George Orwell's and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World It was suppressed for many years in Russia and remains a resounding cry for individual freedom yet is also a powerful exciting and vivid work of science fiction Clarence Brown's brilliant translation is based on the corrected text of the novel first published in Russia in after than sixty years' suppression.

10 thoughts on “Мы

  1. Forrest Forrest says:

    George Orwell you poser You punk You thief I heard that you had read this before writing 1984 But I didn't expect Zamyatin's writing to be so superior to yours And it is It is so much intriguing than your sterile work D 503 is so much the better character than Winston And you rob I 333 of her power and respect by demoting Julia to the role of a sexual object that stirs Winston to action Yes D 503 is stirred to action by I 333 but she's the political activist the intelligent one in this revolution Besides Zamyatin had the guts to apply a letter and a name to his characters while your very English Winston makes your work smack of parochialism and frankly condescension D 503 is the universal toadie and I 333 the universal revolutionary Winston? Really? Were you trying to evoke Churchill? Somehow I sense Regardless of this Zamyatin's prose is far better than yours It never seems hackneyed and rarely pedantic though I suppose any novel that portrays rebellion against totalitarianism has to be somewhat pedantic But because Zamyatin actually lived under a totalitarian state TWO actually and you only imagined what the Socialists would do in your imaginary world he avoids much of the rhetoric that you seem to embrace even while lampooning the imagined society of Big BrotherYou see despite his impersonal name D 503 is so much human than Winston Yes Winston is a revolutionary like D 503 but when I read him in comparison with the protagonist of We Winston comes off as disingenuous D 503 is the real deal because Zamyatin was the real deal The man was exiled by both the Tsar and the Communists for his free thinking while you were worried about threats from within your country that never materialized Maybe that's why 1984 feels so forced remember that awful middle section outlining the world's politics BORING while We feels so much natural and easy to readFurther Zamyatin's prose is beautiful Yes you have the occasional turn of phrase that came out well iconic even but Zamyatin's writing is beautiful throughout even in its stochasticity It's the writing of a poet who actually lived under totalitarianism not a vested academic who feared a potential threat You were fighting despotism Zamyatin was living with it You surmised he knewAnd for these reasons I am doing the unprecedented for me at least I am taking one of your stars and giving it to Zamyatin Because while his work isn't perfect one must give credit where credit is due Censorship along with the the Cold War gave you your day in the sun of America's high school classrooms when all along those kids myself included should have been reading Zamyatin's workThat's an injustice Maybe you're not totally to blame Maybe Western society has to shoulder some of the guilt here But but you copycat

  2. Nataliya Nataliya says:

    It's been a decade since I first read Zamyatin's masterpiece and even though this book remains unchanged for almost a century now the person who read it is not A decade later I'm a very different person no longer the wide eyed undergraduate who thought she had the world all figured out Time has added a bit life experience an overdose of cynicism a few collisions with the rougher edges of the universe and a few still subtle grey hairs Time has dispelled some of the youthful cocky confidence softened a few edges sharpened a few and helped open my eyes to the areas of life I used to give little thought to before It managed to keep my love of philosophical discussions intact but greatly decreased the amount of wine I can have fueling thoseIn short I'm no longer the same person as I was a decade ago reading Zamyatin's masterpiece for the first timeAnd this book for me now is very different than it was back then I can see of its unsettling depth and it leaves me almost speechless just joking of course nothing in this world can make me really shut upI remember being impressed by the dystopian society focusing on the idea of One State the totalitarian oppression and the parallels between it and the soon to follow societal changes in Zamyatin's motherland You know the obvious easy stuff the one that gets uite old after reading a few dystopian books like Orwell's one inspired by 'We' the stuff that causes exasperated sigh of 'Yes I get it totalitarian bad individualism suits humans oppression is evil so what?' And that's right so what? If that was all there was to Zamyatin's 'We' it would have disappeared from the public eye by now lingering perhaps only in a few dusty college classrooms What makes 'We' special is not dystopian society alone It's the amazing atmosphere Zamyatin creates through the pen of his protagonist a little formerly happy cog in the wheel with a few atavistic features and an unexpected development of an incurable condition a soul The writing so amazingly reflects the mental state of the confused man so fractured and frantic and stuttering and urgent and anxious and often disjointed laden with metaphors and unexpected emotions and full on scream of soul Because I live now not in our rational world but in the ancient one senseless the world of suare roots of minus one It's the strength of unexpected chaotic emotional outpouring and emotional breakdown from the protagonist running headfirst into the hitherto unknown to him wall of passion and jealousy and possessiveness with all the both lovely and frustrating humanity that follows “You're afraid of it because it's stronger than you you hate it because you're afraid of it you love it because you can't master it You can only love something that refuses to be mastered” It's the prominent in Russian literature motif of search for happiness and attempts to figure out the secret of this elusive happiness for all the soul search that leads to fewer answers than it inspires uestions “So here I am in step with everyone now and yet I'm still separate from everyone I am still trembling all over from the agitation I endured like a bridge after an ancient train has rumbled over it I am aware of myself And of course the only things that are aware of themselves and conscious of their individuality are irritated eyes cut fingers sore teeth A healthy eye finger tooth might as well not even be there Isn't it clear that individual consciousness is just sickness?” I read this book again It left me unsettled and confused it left me uneasy and for all this I love it Because it does what literature is meant to do to disuiet the soul And for this I love it ORIGINAL REVIEW FROM 2012 BASED ON THE MEMORY OF FIRST READINGS OF THIS NOVEL IN 2004 2005Zamyatin's masterfully written dystopian masterpiece predated and likely inspired the popular Western books that explored the similar themes Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty Four Written in 1920 before the Soviet Union even existed it predicted the Stalin and Brezhnev eras with terrifying foresight Evgeniy Zamyatin did not share the fascination with the new State and the glory of the Great October Socialist Revolution “The only means of ridding man of crime is ridding him of freedom” With his novel Zamyatin disagrees No wonder it was banned in the Soviet Union until late 1980s since one of his characters brings up the ultimate blasphemy There is no final revolution Revolutions are infinite At that time during the birth of the new world order that emphasized the good of the State over the good of individual cogs in the machine the beauty of uniformity of unity over individual variations Zamyatin described the hollowness that replacing soul and love with cold reason and logic and individuals with numbers would bring In this world everything is rationalized de individualized regimented and oppressively safe Even the leader the Benefactor is little but a slave to the State “Now I no longer live in our clear rational world; I live in the ancient nightmare world the world of suare roots of minus one” Zamyatin's characters try to go against the great tide try to resist the State As a result at least for a short while his protagonist gets diagnosed with a serious medical condition developing a soul But fittingly for a dystopia there is no happy ending just a reader's faint hope that for some of them not all is lost I read this book in its original Russian so I really cannot comment on the uality of translation In Russian the writing is superb and the narrative voice is uniue and fascinating exaltingly sickeningly cheerful at the beginning and growing and confused as the story progresses I can only hope that the translations managed to capture at least some of that 5 stars

  3. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    Let’s play “Guess That Groundbreaking Novel” uestion A party functionary who is recording his experiences in a journal lives in a future fascist society which maintains its solidarity by compulsory attendance at public events dominated by a remote all powerful leader He meets a woman a secret rebel who expresses her revolutionary impulses through her sexuality and the two of them carry on an affair in room in an old house which symbolizes what life was like in the days before the new society The man becomes a revolutionary too but still has doubts and after undergoing a mind violating experience betrays his lover and the revolution too Guess that groundbreaking novel Answer George Orwell’s 1984? Response Close But not exactly groundbreaking The proper answer is Yevgeny Zyamatin’s We We was published in English in 1924 and reviewed by Orwell in the Tribune Magazine in 1946; 1984 was not published until 1949 Yes it is Zyamatin not Orwell who has the honor of being a groundbreaking dystopian novelist As well as the “honor” of being one of the first soviet dissidents His novel could only be published abroad and he was soon forced into exile Still Orwell’s novel is clearly superior to Zyamatin’s We unlike 1984 is an honest to god science fiction novel complete with an honest to god rocket ship futuristic buildings and experimental brain operations Because of this it has a charm the Orwell novel lacks for 1984 is essentially a bleak clear eyed vision set in a shabbier version of post war Britain plus the totalitarian of course Where We fails is precisely where 1984most succeeds in its treatment of language itself and its effects on pre revolutionary and post revolutionary consciousness which in We's case is synonumous with the before and after of loveThe hero of We is a builder of rocket ships and a typical man of his society He thinks of everything in terms of logic uantifiers and physical entities and his metaphors are filled with numbers and geometrical shapes Only later when his heart is touched by sexual passion does he speak a language like ours touched by emotion and the beauties of our natural world This is all fine in theory but it results in a prose at least in the two translations I used which is often odd and alienating and sometimes completely baffling Unfortunately when our hero falls in love his language becomes filled with cliché and it is difficult to distinguish his revolutionary sentiments from the sentimental outpourings of a second rate romance novel The novel buckles under its burden of language and that is why the plot of We which thankgoodness Orwell stole and turned into a classic is interesting than the novel itself

  4. Jim Fonseca Jim Fonseca says:

    This is a classic Russian science fiction dystopian novel published in 1924 that influenced many following books 1984 and Brave New World and authors such as Kurt Vonnegut and Ayn Rand According to Wiki “We is generally considered to be the grandfather of the satirical futuristic dystopia genre” The book had to be published outside of the USSR because under Stalin the author ended up first imprisoned and later exiled to France In an Introduction Foreword and Preface we are told that the book emphasizes the “insidious pressures for conformity” in the new RussiaPeople of the United State are called ‘Numbers’ which they all wear on the chests of their unifs as they walk around four abreast They all wake up at the same time and leave work at the same time and have a ‘personal hour’ and sexual days They live in high rise glass cubicles with curtains They attend compulsory meetings in auditoriums where they sing hymns to the state and hear from the ‘Well Dooer’ on a big screen They have to vote for him each year on the Day of Unanimity They eat a petroleum based food Rare resistances are punished by the offender being placed in a machine that dissolves him into water A ‘Green Wall’ separates the urban area from the remining wild world outside The main character is an engineer involved in building a spaceship to conuer other planets He happens to find a lover who is involved with a small group of potential rebels And ‘lover’ is the wrong word – the system does not allow love or permanent pairings – just hookups A corrupt doctor gives them alcohol and nicotine and they have a way of getting to the outside world beyond the wall The main character starts thinking about his soul and about having a child The rebellion may be spreading but at the same time the state is introducing a new reuired lobotomy type operation to nip this in the bud Why a rating of 3? This book has been in my TBR for years but I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of sci fi or dystopian novels The author uses math terms in symbolic ways that don’t help the story along The dialog seemed herky jerky to me at times and some of the plot I thought was confusing Still I’m glad I read it Top image Le Corbusier’s 1924 plan for Paris envisaged razing the city from Montmartre to the Seine to build 18 giant skyscrapers From thetimescoukSketch of the author from Wikipedia

  5. Lyn Lyn says:

    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a must read for fans and students of the Dystopian genre Published in 1920 before Brave New World and well before 1984 which could even be considered a second generation 1984 as Orwell began his seminal work after reading a French translation of We Zamyatin’s vision is well before his time Writing in response to his experiences with the Bolsheviks but without a direct link to the communists We takes place in a post apocalyptic world where pockets of “civilized” humanity survive in a totalitarian state We however is not timeless as Huxley’s and Orwell’s works may be Perhaps some of his original meanings have been lost in the cultural and generational translations as well as from the original Russian We can be a difficult story to follow and lacks some of the malevolent charm and suspense of the recognized works The glass house is at once a statement about the loss of individualism and privacy and also a metaphor for socialism that Pasternak would poetically describe years later

  6. Lisa Lisa says:

    The prototype of dystopian fiction a vivisection of monolithic faith and cruelty in the name of “We”Dystopian science fiction never analyses the future even though it is the supposed topic of the novel It looks at the past and follows the road that humanity has already embarked on to its logical next step When Zamyatin wrote “We” the society he knew was rapidly changing breaking apart one authoritarian structure was being replaced with another through the means of a violent clash a revolution supported by a technological jump to modernity delivering tools to control ideology through mass propaganda and effective weapons What triggers revolutions? What makes human beings accept authority? What defines collective and individual identity? How does power make use of human needs to control society? All these uestions are raised in the voice of a member of a monolithic state OneState a futuristic powerhouse that has managed to create a system that guides its citizens towards collective sameness The community of “We” is protected from the outer world the freedom of choice by a great Green Wall Yes A wallEver since the beginning of time and in Zamyatin’s traditional mythological context that means since the beginning of Christian tales in the paradise of the all powerful authoritarian god a wall has protected the collective in possession of truth from the evil of freedom or diversity According to OneState’s dogma Adam and Eve were stupid to choose freedom over “happiness” and since they were expelled from the beautifully walled in paradise Christian fundamentalist believers in monolithic conformity have strived to re establish the chains that deliver complete safety which is falsely labelled “happiness”In the automatised regulated OneState this “utopian” idea of a new paradise is accomplished and everything is done according to the collective need in complete disregard of personal identity and emotions Sexuality is regulated to the point of absurdity and each individual follows a strict schedule for the benefit of the superior Benefactor who is the authoritarian leader or monotheistic god of OneState There are cracks in the wall though as people still think and feel Even though it is supposedly illegal a precursor to Orwell’s idea of thoughtcrime free will is not completely suppressed and there is resistance The enemies of happiness no less In the narrator’s character the two concepts clash Submission under authoritarian dictatorship stands against humanity’s longing for freedom of choice for genuine love for diverse experience In the chilling end the state has found a solution to make individuality obsolete an “Operation” to remove imagination from the human brain The outlook on the world therefore is bleaker than anything I have read so far not only brainwashed with propaganda and scared into submission by external enemies and fear of punishment but biologically reduced to prehuman thinking capacity the world has become inhuman And thus a paradise for an authoritarian godlike leader “We” believe in “Him” as soon as our imagination is no longer threatening to make us to see two sides of the story alternatives a plurality of choices eually possible and justifiedThis scares me than anything else for it touches on the fundamental need of human beings to conform in groups to cruelly suppress individual longing in order to function as an unthinking mob as witnessed over and over again in the 20th century in One Party or One Religion states around the world On Tyranny Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century describes the unfolding of Zamyatin’s dystopia with almost perfect accuracyIt also emphasises the fact that monotheistic belief is not compatible with a pluralistic tolerant society if if is in power As it relies on a concept of itself as a saving truth it will never be able to fully accept a pluralistic worldview The danger of losing its followers to any other lifestyle is too great The walls of the world are built to keep followers of certain dogmas political or religious in order out of touch with freedom and choice as well as separated from an overarching comparative education that opens up perspectives rather than spreading populist slogans of “truth”There is no happiness in paradise is the lesson I learned from this novel If you can’t choose you are not fully human Sheep are not happy regardless of how well the shepherd guides them They do not understand the concept of happiness as they cannot think in abstract terms Be a sheep in paradise or a human beyond the wall That’s the choice And being a human involves many different scenarios that cannot be regulated It will sometimes include pain and chaos and certainly unhappiness which is the only means to even grasp the idea of happiness To deal with freedom in a responsible way without hurting others that is the challenge of democracy It is vulnerable as godlike populists use ancient shepherd methods to gather their sheep and lock them into paradise but it is possible to resist the urge to conform in order to feel safe Carrying out routines prescribed by authority is a soothing medicine for sheeplike nonthinkers but it does not really make humanity safe It is an illusion like planning next week’s regulated work schedule while you are sitting on a plane that is about to crash as the narrator puts it Knowing what is going on gives you a choice But for the narrator it is too late a temporary new wall is already being erected around him and his imagination is removedThere is always hope however After all Zamyatin thought and created and imagined and wrote this masterpiece in the middle of Armageddon And it survived several waves of religious political fundamentalist ruleRecommended to all people who believe that you can learn from books than from sheep as opposed to the wisdom of The Alchemist

  7. Fabian Fabian says:

    Sci fi's in my top 3 least favorite fiction genres However this one is thankfully not Brave New World has traces of madness and poetry both and possesses the Waltmanesue uality of being organic though the theme of Dystopian Machinery should be inevitably super structured The protagonist's POV is impressive As builder of a space ship that will provide aliens or us with an account of the glass metropolis see communism he transitions from zombie troglodyte to someone infected with a soul This was one of the landmark classics of science fiction and along with the aforementioned World sorry just not a fan 1984 haven't read it makes up a celebrated trilogyThe protagonist becomes human his confusion infuses the work with a sense of wonderment of a certain etherealness There are events that both the reader and the hero do not fully understand and this is my favorite thing about this work Some things are overexplained others oversimplified That nouns are described geometrically and in terms of mathematics is uite a uniue interpretation of the fall of a machine society Well beyond its time this is tellingly an important brick in the wall of the Global Lit Sci Fi fortress

  8. Ariel Ariel says:

    Thoughts If it was utterly up to me I'd actually think about classing this as a utopia rather than a dystopia understanding that they're ultimately the same thing Living in glass houses is the most terrifying part of this novel I 330 is basically a manic pixie dream girl The commentary on the Russian Revolution and Socialism are heavy bro Zamyatin had a FASCINATING life that very much influences this book The writing style wasn't my thing It was by no means bad but it just wasn't my thingOn Comparing it to 1984 So the deal is that George Orwell absolutely admits that his book was inspired by this book and any person who has read them both will know that this is undoubtedly true Here are some of my observations We is about Humanity and 1984 is about Politics The stakes feel higher in 1984 I might be biased I'm definitely biased but Orwell improved on certain things Room 101 general feelings of unrest the book line One of the best parts of 1984 is when Winston becomes a traitorous bastard and we didn't see that to the same extent in this novel The best part of 1984 is the last line and this last line was good but not as goodYou should read this srs

  9. Henry Avila Henry Avila says:

    A city of glass 1000 years in the future domed with a green wall to keep out all the undesirable primitive life forms Animal human vegetable or insectA clean and sparkling place for its millions of citizens everything and everyone has a schedule the perfect One State No privacy people have numbers for names they dress light blue uniforms and eat the same food live in small sparse apartments which are transparent No drinking or smoking even sex regulated by yes an appointment Regular daily walks pep talks at auditoriums to keep all motivated Thousands sing and listen to the sacred words they have heard countless times before Guardians to help the Benefactor's rules be followed timetables are enforced Any deviations are rigorously crushed D 503 is the chief in charge of building the spaceship Integral now the perfect society can conuer space soon bringing happiness and order to a chaotic universe D 503 has a regular sex partner 0 90 but she falls in love with the mathematician the State doesn't approve emotional entanglements It causes disorder in a strict culture no conflicts The blue planet was devastated after the 200 year long war 99% of the population died Then he sees 1 330 a Will o' the Wisp forever coming and going befuddling D 503 He can never differentiate reality from a mirage when she's around a brilliant manwhen he returns to Earth Love reduces people to silliness misery and sometimes a little euphoria but there is something strange going on a secret she has an agenda His best friend R 13 is somehow connected the poet is full of big dreams what ? Mad Revolution unthinkable Unfreedom is paradise D 503 is scared He is taken by her amazingly outside the walls he feels naked uncomfortable Seeing crawling things always moving about in the frightening and unknown green environment is the vegetation very unhealthy ? Yellow fruit which D 503 recognized from ancient books in old museums The hot sun shining down nothing to regulate it here humans too dressed unalike Weird they don't look any different from us The wise man is drawn deeper into a plot he just can't say no to the beautiful 1 330 Causing much turbulence between he and dear jealous 0 90 yet he is being watched closely by the Guardians Does he risk torture and death for the woman he loves who may just be using D 503 for her own personal ambitions? However the builder is a romantic at heart in a civilization that doesn't believe or tolerate such nonsense What will it be a bland but safe existence all the worries taken care of by the suffocating inhuman State Not a very fulfilling or exciting prospect maybe an unfamiliar perilous world And Birds are seen inside the city

  10. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    Zamyatin's theme here is the impossibility of being fully human in totalitarian society His future is not technologically superior It contains little of what we'd call high tech This is still very much the age of steam The story seems both forward looking and dated almost paradoxically so The mood it inspires is rather like that of Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis I liked that It was like finding this artefact of world lit Another piece in the long history of dystopias—and one that influenced George Orwell But We is worth reading for than historical reasons In Cormac McCarthy's The Road we are in a post apocalyptic thus post technology future In We science is very much at the service of OneState Thanks to our glass with its steel like properties buildings are completely transparent so one can see everything everyone else does Except during sex when one can lower one's blinds with prior authorization of course The fictional patterning is admirable throughout but there are inconsistencies of logic For instance the spy agency of OneState known as the Guardians seems inanely feeble in comparison to say the efficient uasi Stasi of 1984 But then Orwell was writing than 25 years later when advanced ideas like television were in the air For D 503 everything is fine and dandy He begins by being a rather tiresome booster of OneState He's happy sharing O 90's favors with R 13 He's happy with his work on the INTEGRAL which is some sort of missile time capsule affair destined for other civilizations on other planets Later when it flew I was assailed by mental footage of Buck Rodgers' low tech rocket jiggled on fishing line before the camera Everything is fine with D 503 until he falls passionately in love with I 330 who is both beautiful and a willful transgressor of state laws She's a revolutionary I 330 is constantly gaming the system And because D 503 is insanely in love with her he's drawn into her crimes for which death appears to be the only possible punishment There are a number of disconnected images scenes that don't uite fit with the otherwise lucid patterning of the novel It's as if the book never made it through it's final draft But I ordinarily so unforgiving was willing to live with that After all it's an artefact If you're seeking perfection this is not your novel

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