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We: A Novel (1920)

by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,971207995 (3.85)1 / 462
Set in the twenty-sixth century A.D., Yevgeny Zamyatin's masterpiece describes life under the regimented totalitarian society of OneState, ruled over by the all-powerful "Benefactor." Recognized as the inspiration for George Orwell's 1984, We is the archetype of the modern dystopia, or anti-Utopia: a great prose poem detailing the fate that might befall us all if we surrender our individual selves to some collective dream of technology and fail in the vigilance that is the price of freedom. 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.… (more)
  1. 270
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (tehran)
    tehran: Brave New World was largely inspired by Zamyatin's We.
  2. 281
    Nineteen Eighty-Four 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.
  3. 60
    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. 30
    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. 30
    Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson (hippietrail)
    hippietrail: an even earlier dystopia novel from 1908
  6. 30
    This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (myshelves, VictoriaPL)
    myshelves: Dystopian novel.
  7. 00
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (sturlington)
  8. 00
    Kallocain by Karin Boye (Oct326, catherinedarley)
  9. 00
    Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin (2810michael)
  10. 213
    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."
1920s (14)
Walls (3)

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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Fans of Russian authors: We by Zamiatin13 unread / 13DuneSherban, August 2011

» See also 462 mentions

English (193)  Spanish (3)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (203)
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)
Nell’ampio filone della letteratura distopica un posto importante è occupato da Noi, opera del 1921 dello scrittore russo Evgenij Zamjatin (1884-1937).

Il contesto storico e sociale da cui emerge l’anti-utopia di Zamjatin è quello della dittatura stalinista, da lui trasposta in romanzo come un’organizzazione sociale in cui l’oppressione della libertà individuale agita dalla collettività spersonalizzata del “noi” giunge alla sua esasperazione tramite la totale negazione di ogni moto di libero pensiero.

Zamjatin – che di formazione era ingegnere – riconduce la disciplina meccanica e priva di emozioni del regime che descrive niente meno che ai precetti di Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), facendo di Noi uno dei primi esempi di letteratura esplicitamente critica dei confronti dello Scientific Management e dunque dell’ideologia dell’organizzazione moderna del lavoro nel suo complesso.

Uno dei passaggi chiave del romanzo contiene la descrizione, pubblicata sul “Giornale di Stato” che è organo del regime oppressivo, di un’operazione in grado di rendere felici eliminando il principale nemico della razionalità, cioè la fantasia:

«La bellezza di un meccanismo sta nel suo ritmo incessante ed esatto, simile a quello di un pendolo. Ma voi, allevati fin dall’infanzia al sistema di Taylor, non siete forse diventati esatti come un pendolo? Il fatto è che: un meccanismo è privo di fantasia! […] La colpa non è vostra, siete afflitti da una malattia il cui nome è: fantasia. È un verme che solca la fronte di righe scure. È una febbre che vi spinge a correre sempre oltre, sebbene questo “oltre” inizi là, dove termina la felicità. È l’ultima barricata sulla via che conduce alla felicità. Ma rallegratevi: essa è già stata fatta saltare! La via è sgombra! L’ultima scoperta della Scienza di Stato è la sede della fantasia […]. Una volta che il suddetto plesso venga bombardato a tre riprese con i raggi x, la fantasia non vi affliggerà più. Per sempre! Sarete perfetti, equivarrete a delle macchine, la via che conduce al 100% della felicità è sgombra». ( )
  d.v. | May 16, 2023 |
Reading this book when war is raging in Eastern Europe and people are controlled and kept in the dark by a well oiled propaganda machine made for an intense experience. This is the OG of dystopia that inspired Huxley's [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1575509280l/5129._SY75_.jpg|3204877] and Orwell's [b:1984|40961427|1984|George Orwell|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1532714506l/40961427._SX50_.jpg|153313], which in turn inspired Atwood's [b:The Handmaid's Tale|38447|The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1)|Margaret Atwood|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1578028274l/38447._SY75_.jpg|1119185]. The audiobook I listened to contained a foreword by Atwood, a review of the book by Orwell and an essay by Ursula K. Le Guin! I mean talk about a sublime listening experience! The novel presents so many points for discussion about the mechanisation of humans and how freedom and imagination are the enemy of happiness because the source of happiness is regulation and control. I listened to it twice. Once to sit back and listen to this wonderfully written and frighteningly prophetic story, the second with a pencil and paper at the ready to write down quotes I liked and thoughts I had. I won't say too much more but here are some of the quotes that I think will tell you everything you need to know about this novel (I've written them as best as I heard them so apologies for errors - I didn't have time to trawl through the intermaweb looking for them).

... we are always in view. Eternally washed by the light within our translucent walls which seem to be woven from sparkling air. We have nothing to hide from each other. Plus, it makes the difficult and noble task of the Guardians a lot easier. Otherwise, who knows what could happen? It's quite possible that the bizarre opaque dwellings of the Ancients are exactly what lead to their pathetic single-celled mindset, "My home is my castle". Imagine!

You're sick. And the name of this illness is 'Imagination'. It is the worm that gnaws black wrinkles into your forehead. The fever that drives you further and further away, even when further begins precisely where happiness ends. It is the final barricade on the path to total happiness. But rejoice, we have already blasted our way through this obstacle. The path is clear. The latest State science discovery is the seat of the Imagination. A pathetic little neural nodule in the region of the pons Varolii. With a simple triple x-ray quarterisation you will be cured of Imagination. Forever. You will be perfect. You will be equal to the machine. The path to one hundred percent happiness is clear. Hurry! One and all, young and old. Run, don't walk to undergo The Great Operation. Hurry to the auditoriums where they are performing The Great Operation. All Hail The Great Operation! All hail the One State! All hail the Benefactor!

No more delirious nonsense. No crazy metaphors. No feelings. Just facts. Because now I am healthy. I am completely and totally healthy. I'm smiling. I can't help smiling. A splinter has been removed from my head and now it is empty and light. Rather, not empty, but there is nothing foreign in it that would keep me from smiling. Smiling is the normal state of a normal person.

I'm certain we will win. For Reason must win

There is no final revolution. ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
Really interesting book from the proto-science fiction point of view. I'm not sure that all the reported influences of this story are as direct as people seem to think. I'm more inclined to believe that it reflects a general horror of authoritarianism that was shared by Orwell, Huxley, and other writers.

I found it pretty hard to understand, and in fact will have to re-read the final few chapters to fully figure out what happened to each of the characters. But still I found the imagery bizarre and the development of the story quite interesting.

I read it in the Project Gutenberg publication of the original translation into English. I suspect that later translations might be better. ( )
  JudyGibson | Jan 26, 2023 |
In the sterile land of numbers, only the Devil can save your soul.
  paradoxosalpha | Dec 14, 2022 |
Recommended to me as a prototype for [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313] and [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877], which I definitely think are better books, but We is certainly not without its charm. I can see why it's important in the development of the dystopian genre, but found it less engaging than the other two previously mentioned. There is a lack of explanation for much of the dystopian setting, but the essentials were there. Maybe I've read far too many dystopian novels (I love the genre) but I couldn't help feeling as I read that there are so many other authors who did this kind of thing way better. The language is a little odd, perhaps it's just the translation or maybe that's just the way it was written, and I found it a bit difficult to really get into. Still, I must say I love the way Zamyatin describes his characters-- O with her round pink lips and S with his S-shaped body and translucent wing-like ears... Just lovely. ( )
  serru | Oct 6, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 193 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (219 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yevgeny Zamyatinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brealey, LouiseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, ClarenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chwast, SeymourCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drohla, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
香男里, 川端Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
豊樹, 小笠原Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gessen, MashaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsburg, MirraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glenny, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, TobyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Guin, Ursula K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lo Gatto, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodge, KirstenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mills, RussellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Randall, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, KitIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siegel, HaroldCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sillitoe, AlanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterling, BruceForewordsecondary 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)

Set in the twenty-sixth century A.D., Yevgeny Zamyatin's masterpiece describes life under the regimented totalitarian society of OneState, ruled over by the all-powerful "Benefactor." Recognized as the inspiration for George Orwell's 1984, We is the archetype of the modern dystopia, or anti-Utopia: a great prose poem detailing the fate that might befall us all if we surrender our individual selves to some collective dream of technology and fail in the vigilance that is the price of freedom. 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.

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Em suas páginas, o autor imaginou um governo totalitário chamado Estado Único que, supostamente pelo bem da sociedade, privou a população de direitos fundamentais como o livre-arbítrio, a individualidade, a imaginação, a liberdade de expressão e o direito à própria vida. Um mundo completamente mecanizado e lógico, onde as pessoas não possuem nomes, mas sim números, e o Estado dita os horários de trabalho, de lazer, de refeições e até de sexo.
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