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Yevgeny Zamyatin
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message 1: by Nate D (last edited Sep 18, 2012 10:43AM) (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 118 comments Yevgeny Zamyatin (also sometimes Eugene Zamiatin) is best known for authoring We, the early dystopia and clear precedent of Brave New World and 1984, from within Communist Russia in the early 20s, where it had to be smuggled out in 1923 for publication in English before ever appearing in Russian. In fact, he'd supported the revolution, and communist ideals, having been jailed for backing the failed 1905 revolution. But a born heretic, Zamyatin declared that progress was always needed and there could be no final revolution. We, then, fore-saw the abuses of Stalinism as a clairvoyant warning of the restrictive society already clamping down heterodox thought immediately after the revolution. Forced out of work by his ideas, he petitioned Stalin for permission to leave Russia in 1931, and with aid from Gorky, was somehow successful, relocating with his wife to Paris, where he found himself still at odds with the earlier mostly-anti-revolution expats already there. Throughout, until his death in '37, he produced brilliant stories and novels in wide-ranging styles of equal daring and precision. Certainly my favorite Russian writer.

Novels/novellas:
A Provincial Tale, 1913 ('Uezdnoe', tr. Mirra Ginsburg, in The Dragon: Fifteen Stories, 1966)
A God-forsaken Hole, 1914 ('Na kulichkakh', tr. Walker Foard, 1988)
The Islanders, 1918 ('Ostrovitiane', tr. T.S. Berczynski, 1978, tr. Sophie Fuller and Julian Sacchi, in We, 1922(?) ('My')

Essential collected stories:
The Dragon, 1966 (tr. Mirra Ginsberg)

Collected Essays:
A Soviet Heretic, 1970.

Uncollected stories:
Mamai, 1921 (tr. Neil Cornwell, in Stand, 4. 1976, now on-line here).

To be developed further with any additional information I can turn up. In particular, I want to know more about his apparently-never-entirely-translated collections "Stories for Grown-Up Children" and "Impious Tales" if such exist.


message 2: by Nate D (last edited Sep 18, 2012 10:53AM) (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 118 comments Of what I can actually determine to exist as books, I'm only lacking the essays and Islanders, though I have a copy of the latter to be read shortly.

No one seems to read A God-forsaken Hole, but they really really should. Hilarious yet blackly perceptive characterizations and a grim assessment of the desperation of inaction.


message 3: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (MJNicholls) | 211 comments I had no idea he had other things in English trans. Very nice.


message 4: by Nate D (last edited Sep 18, 2012 02:20PM) (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 118 comments Yeah! We is great, but I really suspect you'd enjoy some of the stories and novellas especially. He has an excellent voice for scathing black humor and really pushed the prose and structural envelope. For instance, there's one in the Dragon where he plots all the action along three color and thematic axis that cut across the town, almost oulipan-like.


message 5: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (MJNicholls) | 211 comments Does sound tempting. Too much Bulgakov turned me off Russian satire, but the genre is still open to me (esp. after The Slynx.


message 6: by James (new)

James C | 2 comments You can find a more complete list of the English translations of Zamyatin's works at the bottom of this document (which, by the way, is also useful if you want a digital copy of Mirra Ginsburg's translation of We).

One thing you forgot to mention is "The Fisher of Men," which is included in Sophie Fuller and Julian Sacchi's translation of Islanders (but not in T.S. Berczynski's). The two are companion pieces, really.

The link also has...
-an extensive list of the English translations of We
-links to a few of Zamyatin's short stories, including copies of "The Fisher of Men," "The Cave," and "The Lion" translated by different people than the copies of these stories available in print (in case you'd like to compare them)
-a link to Gregory Zilboorg's translation of We
-and a list of a handful of critical works.

Besides "Mamai," which you mention, the only other work of Zamyatin's I know of that's solely available online is "Pictures." It's very short, mind you.


message 7: by James (new)

James C | 2 comments A Godforsaken Hole is also available online. It's difficult to find in print.


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