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We - A Novel of the Future - In a New…

We - A Novel of the Future - In a New Translation By Mirra Ginsburg (original 1920; edition 1972)

by Yevgeny Zamyatin Mirra Ginsburg

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,8231501,065 (3.87)1 / 387
Title:We - A Novel of the Future - In a New Translation By Mirra Ginsburg
Authors:Yevgeny Zamyatin Mirra Ginsburg
Info:Bantam Books (1972), Mass Market Paperback, 2nd Printing
Collections:Your library

Work details

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (Author) (1920)

  1. 260
    1984 by George Orwell (soylentgreen23, roby72, timoroso, MEStaton, 2810michael)
    timoroso: Zamyatin's "We" was not just a precursor of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" but the work Orwell took as a model for his own book.
  2. 230
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (tehran)
    tehran: Brave New World was largely inspired by Zamyatin's We.
  3. 50
    Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia by Alexander Bogdanov (leigonj)
    leigonj: As We (1920) is anti-communist Russian science fiction, Red Star (1908) is pro-communist Russian science fiction. They are equally superb.
  4. 20
    Aelita by Alexei Tolstoy (DuneSherban)
    DuneSherban: While thematically distinct from We, Aelita shares its problematic view of early Soviet society, and can also be read as a discourse on totalitarian society, revolution and Bolshevism (published originally in 1923).
  5. 20
    Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson (hippietrail)
    hippietrail: an even earlier dystopia novel from 1908
  6. 20
    This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (myshelves, VictoriaPL)
    myshelves: Dystopian novel.
  7. 00
    Kallocain by Karin Boye (Oct326, catherinedarley)
  8. 00
    Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin (2810michael)
  9. 212
    Anthem by Ayn Rand (myshelves)
    myshelves: Dystopian novel. Wikipedia says: "Ayn Rand's Anthem (1938) has several major similarities to We, although it is stylistically and thematically different."

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English (145)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
This probably qualifies as a Book I Should Have Read Already. I'm not sure if I'd heard of it before seeing John Allen Paulos recommend it as having the best explanation of entropy he'd read.

I'd read that Orwell claimed he hadn't read this and I suspect that is probably true , given the history of the book. I have no idea as to the quality of the original language writing, but the translated version is very well written, or composed, ...or translated. Zemyatin was rather brilliant. The transition of D-503 through the book, to the conclusion I won't spoil (because I generally do not spoil fiction with any synopsis for other readers). I didn't make many notes, but I did ask in a note if the use of "idiotic" so much has significance. I don't know if it was.

As to that definition... Paulos might be a very good mathematics writer, and I am a mechanical engineer who is not, but who has taken a few thermodynamics classes as an undergrad and graduate student, and ... well ..., I think Zemyatin, through his character I-330, was wrong. I'll leave it to the reader of this "review" to find out why and form your own opinion. ( )
1 vote Razinha | Nov 13, 2018 |
“Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “We”: both have constant surveillance of the individual, though through different means. Both have the protagonist discovering a class in society that is free, but powerless. Both have state control over passion, albeit in rather different ways. But “1984” (the new title) is rather turgid though. “We” by contrast is actually a lot of fun, I rather prefer it of the two; it's not afraid in places to be a bit silly and it's vision of the future is somehow inspired, with their transparent dwellings and privacy granted only for your allotted hour of sex with your pre-selected partner. If one sees a figure jerking about, and one sees strings attached to its hands and feet and leading upward out of sight, one would "infer" a "manipulator" entirely internal to the figure's movements- a puppeteer. Likewise, if one saw an opinion-herd trotting this way and that, inferring that the beasts were being directed passively (even if the 'puppeteer' in this case were simply the other beasts) wouldn't be an extra "assumption", would it?

Dystopias like "Nineteen Eighty-Four", “We” and “Brazil” make me wonder: sure, my opinions of a book or movie or person or whatever, and my political and spiritual commitments, my romantic infatuations, and so on, feel like they're "according to my own lights, which provide an adequate explanation for my reactions". And what else does one have to go by? Well, one thing one has to go by is the capacity for critique, the ability, perhaps the fate, to see one's own 'freedom' as a paradox.

It feels as though some are merely rattling their sabres by criticising the minor flaws of a masterpiece, like complaining about the way the napkins are folded in an exquisite restaurant. Surely the stately style and sketchy characterisation perfectly suit the novel's vision of a grey, authoritarian world? Or am I simply crediting Zamyatin with more subtlety than he deserves? In any case, I think the content of “We” is sufficiently high enough to excuse any clumsiness of style. Granted, it's refreshing to re-evaluate even the greatest work of art, but why butcher a sacred cow just to have some gristle to chew over? Anyway, I must be off; the clocks are about to strike thirteen. ( )
1 vote antao | Aug 27, 2018 |
Well, Ursula K. Le Guin apparently liked it... guess there's no accounting for taste. Poorly written, so metaphorical as to be nearly illegible. ( )
  neuroklinik | May 13, 2018 |
For fans of dystopian and/or science fiction, I consider this a must-read. Zamyatin's multi-sensory metaphors and stilted prose transport the reader immediately to his totalitarian, mechanized future. The One State is a rational world of clear, solid planes of glass, where the subjugation of nature within its walls allows ciphers (humans) to travel the predictable axes of obligation. There is so much depth and brilliant commentary within Zamyatin's words, the story is intriguing, and his writing through the voice of an increasingly unreliable mathematician narrator is wholly unique. ( )
1 vote saresmoore | Mar 20, 2018 |
Dystopian novel, narrated by a human identified only by a number (D-503) who lives in a totalitarian state with very strict rules regarding what and when you can do, in which citizens are completely indoctrinated and do not want anything else. D-503 falls in love with another "number", which is proven to be a revolutionary that tries to fight the state and organize a revolution. In the end the revolution fails, and the states invents an operation to remove completely feeling from people thus making them closer to machines. The main character is caught and any emotion is removed from him. Hope is still there though as the state is represented only by a town surrounded by wilderness and other humans which live outside. Has a dystopian atmosphere given by many details like houses make completely out of glass, idea that liberty is unhappiness, omnipresence of mathematics and others. Overall a good and interesting book, with a bit outdated style and setting (technological surveillance is not present at all for example as book was written beginning of 20th century. ( )
  vladmihaisima | Feb 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (147 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zamyatin, YevgenyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, ClarenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drohla, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsburg, MirraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glenny, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lo Gatto, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mills, RussellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Randall, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, KitIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siegel, HaroldCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sillitoe, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zilboorg, GregoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed


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I am merely copying out here, word for word, what was printed today in the State Gazette: In 120 days from now the building of the INTEGRAL will be finished.
The effect of that woman on me was as unpleasant as a displaced irrational number that has accidentally crept into an equation.
There is no final revolution.  Revolutions are infinite.
I do not want anyone to want for me--I want to want for myself.
I shall attempt nothing more than to note down what I see, what I think - or, to be more exact, what we think (that's right: we, and let this WE be the title of these records). But this, surely, will be a derivative of our life, of the mathematically perfect life of OneState, and if that is so, then won't this be, of its own accord, whatever I may wish, an epic?
A human being is like a novel: until the last page you don't know how it will end. Or it wouldn't be worth reading...."
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The first dystopia ever, it started asking uncomfortable questions about individuals, collectives, revolutions, progress — and the collectives’ rights to individuals’ souls in the name of revolutions and progress.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140185852, Paperback)

A seminal work of dystopian fiction that foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet Russia, Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We" is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated from the Russian with an introduction by Clarence Brown. 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-503, 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 "1984" 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 1988 after more than sixty years' suppression. Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) was a naval engineer by profession and writer by vocation, who made himself an enemy of the Tsarist government by being a Bolshevik, and an enemy of the Soviet government by insisting that human beings have absolute creative freedom. He wrote short stories, plays and essays, but his masterpiece is "We", written in 1920-21 and soon thereafter translated into most of the languages of the world. It first appeared in Russia only in 1988. If you enjoyed "We", you might like George Orwell's "1984", also available in "Penguin Classics". "The best single work of science fiction yet written". (Ursula K. LeGuin, author of "The Left Hand of Darkness"). "It is in effect a study of the Machine, the genie that man has thoughtlessly let out of its bottle and cannot put back again". (George Orwell, author of "1984").

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:28 -0400)

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In a regimented future world under the all-seeing eye of the Benefactor, nameless survivors of a devastating war live out lives devoid of emotion.

(summary from another edition)

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