We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
D-503, a mathematician, lives in the United State, an urban nation with mass surveillance by the secret police, called the Bureau of Guardians. People are referred to as numbers which are assigned by the United State, and every moment of their day is regulated by the Book of Hours. Eating, sleeping, exercise, and even sex is rationed.
We (1924) – D-503, a mathematician, lives in the United State, an urban nation with mass surveillance by the secret police, called the Bureau of Guardians. People are referred to as numbers which are assigned by the United State, and every moment of their day is regulated by the Book of Hours. Eating, sleeping, exercise, and even sex is rationed.
…An Announcement, The Wisest of Lines, A Poem
…Ballet, Square Harmony, X
…A Coat, A Wall, The Tables
…The Wild Man with a Barometer, Epilepsy, If
…The Square, The Rulers of the World, An Agreeable and Useful Function
…An Accident, The Cursed “It’s Clear”, Twenty-four Hours
…An Eyelash, Taylor, Henbane and Lily of the Valley
…An Irrational Root, R-13, The Triangle
…Liturgy, Iambus, The Cast-Iron Hand
…A Letter, A Manhunt, Hairy I
…No, I Can’t; Let It Be without Headings!
…The Delimitation of the Infinite, Angel, Meditations on Poetry
…Fog, Thou, A Decidedly Absurd Adventure
…“Mine”, Impossible, A Cold Floor
…The Bell, The Mirror-Like Sea, I Am To Burn Eternally
…Yellow, A Two-dimensional Shadow, An Incurable Soul
…Through Glass, I Died, The Corridor
…Logical Debris, Wounds and Plaster, Never Again
…The Infinitesimal of the Third Order, From Under the Forehead, Over the Railing
…Discharge, The Material of a Idea, The Zero Rock
…The Duty of an Author, The Ice-swells, The Most Difficult Love
…The Benumbed Waves, Everything Is Improving, I Am a Microbe
…Flowers, The Dissolution of a Crystal, If only (?)
…The Limit of the Function, Easter, To Cross Out Everything
…The Descent from Heaven, The Greatest Catastrophe in History, The Known—Is Ended
…The World Does Exist, Rash, Forty-one Degrees Centigrade
…No Headings. It Is Impossible!
…Both of Them, Entropy and Energy, The Opaque Part of the Body
…Threads on the Face, Sprouts, An Unnatural Compression
…The Last Number, Galileo’s Mistake, Would It Not Be Better?
…The Great Operation, I Forgave Everything, The Collision of Trains
…I Do Not Believe, Tractors, A Little Human Splinter
…This without a Synopsis, Hastily, the Last
…The Forgiven Ones, A Sunny Night, A Radio-Walkyrie
…In a Ring, A Carrot, A Murder
…Empty Pages, The Christian God, About My Mother
…Infusorian, Doomsday, Her Room
…I Don’t Know What Title —Perhaps the Whole Synopsis May Be Called a Cast-off Cigarette-butt.
…Facts, The Bell, I Am Certain
Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (1884-1937) was the son of a Russian Orthodox priest and a musician. Zamyatin wrote We in 1920 – 1921. The Soviet Government refused to allow it to be published. In 1923, Zamyatin arranged for the manuscript to be smuggled to E.P. Dutton and Company in New York City where it was translated and published in1924.
In 1931, after the intercession of Maxim Gorky, Zamyatin was given permission to leave the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin himself. Zamyatin and his wife settled in Paris where he died in poverty in 1937.
Both Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell, owe a great debt to the radical dystopia portrayed in We. Ursula K. Le Guin called We, “The best single work of science fiction yet written.” George Orwell said, “[Zamyatin’s] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism — human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself — makes [We] superior to Huxley’s [Brave New World].”
We has 0 illustrations.
The Wisest of Lines
This is merely a copy, word by word, of what was published this morning in the State newspaper:
“In another hundred and twenty days the building of the Integral will be completed. The great historic hour is near, when the first Integral will rise into the limitless space of the universe. A thousand years ago your heroic ancestors subjected the whole earth to the power of the United State. A still more glorious task is before you,—the integration of the indefinite equation of the Cosmos by the use of the glass, electric, fire-breathing Integral. Your mission is to subjugate to the grateful yoke of reason the unknown beings who live on other planets, and who are perhaps still in the primitive state of freedom. If they will not understand that we are bringing them a mathematically faultless happiness, our duty will be to force them to be happy. But before we take up arms, we shall try the power of words.
“In the name of The Well-Doer, the following is announced herewith to all Numbers of the United State:”
“Whoever feels capable must consider it his duty to write treatises, poems, manifestoes, odes and other compositions on the greatness and the beauty of the United State.
“This will be the first load which the Integral will carry.
“Long live the United State! Long live the Numbers!! Long live the Well-Doer!!!”
I feel my cheeks are burning as I write this. To integrate the colossal, universal equation! To unbend the wild curve, to straighten it out to a tangent—to a straight line! For the United State is a straight line, a great, divine, precise, wise line, the wisest of lines!
I, D-503, the builder of the Integral, I am only one of the many mathematicians of the United State. My pen, which is accustomed to figures, is unable to express the march and rhythm of consonance; therefore I shall try to record only the things I see, the things I think, or to be more exact, the things we think. Yes, we; that is exactly what I mean, and “We” shall, therefore, be the title of my records. But this will only be a derivative of our life,—of our mathematical, perfect life in the United State. If this be so, will not this derivative be a poem in itself, despite my limitations? It will. I believe, I know it.
I feel my cheeks are burning as I write this. I feel something similar to what a woman probably feels when for the first time she senses within herself the pulse of a tiny, blind, human being. It is I, and at the same time it is not I. And for many long months it will be necessary to feed it with my life, with my blood, and then with a pain at my heart, to tear it from myself and lay it at the feet of the United State.
Yet I am ready, as everyone, or nearly everyone of us, is. I am ready.”
Excerpt From: Yevgeny Zamyatin. “We.”
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