Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Yevgeny Zamyatin

(1883 - 1937)

Author of the dystopian novel We, Yevgeny Zamyatin developed an early love of reading, “initiated,” as he described it, “into this mysterious thing, letters.” Although written in the USSR between 1920 and 1921, We was not published in the country until 1988 on account of censors; it appeared in English and Czech translations in 1924 and 1927, respectively. In the writing of the modern dystopian novel, Zamyatin was influenced by H.G. Wells, some of whose works he edited in Russian editions, and in turn influenced George Orwell, who wrote in 1946 that We satirized “not any particular country but the implied aims of industrial civilization.” The subversive politics of his stories and plays earned the disapproval of the Soviet authorities; in response, he declared, “I am afraid that the only future possible to Russian literature is its past.”

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