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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I've yet to read , but I'm told that Orwell was directly influenced by it. That is, <1984> is a kind of reaction to or response to Zamyatin. Any information on this?


Stephen Livingston I've read both and it seems to me that Orwell's 1984 was heavily influenced by We.


Adam yes, he was. personally i prefer we, but that's just my preference.


Richard always seemed to be that 1984 was an utter rip off of We, same plot, similar characters, orwell just added an essay on war as peace


Andriy http://georgeorwellnovels.com/letters...
...
I am afraid I know very little about Russian literature and I hope your book will fill up some of the many gaps in my knowledge. It has already roused my interest in Zamyatin’s “We”, which I had not heard of before. I am interested in that kind of book, and even keep making notes for one myself that may get written sooner or later.
...


message 6: by Simon (last edited Sep 10, 2011 05:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Simon Undoubtedly, "We" was a major influence on "1984". However, I believe that Orwell developed the idea and followed it to it's ultimate logical conclusions, far more resoundingly than any other dystopian vision that I have read.

And I disagree with the poster above that said that it was the "same plot, similar characters". Not at all. There are simularities, yes, but "1984" is far more than a mere "rip-off" of "We".


message 7: by Rebecca (last edited Aug 20, 2013 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rebecca Ah they're both great, I can't decide which I prefer. We was much more subtle and had a lot more to it in that sense, 1984 influenced the way we think about society and to this day British and Irish people are as a rule more nervous about being filmed all the time by security cameras, carrying ID, etc. than people from other places that I've met.
I mean we have the word "Orwellian" for a reason.

They're both good, We has so much psychology in it, so much mystery, so many unanswered questions. The journey D makes is really easy to understand, the things he goes through as his belief system is destroyed are really familiar.

1984 made me think for a long time, as Orwell did, that love was an illusion, but then I realized he was wrong about Room 101 because I've been there and I didn't wish the thing on my worst enemy at the time, let alone the people I loved. I think that Orwell's own limitations as by then a very bitter and loveless person (nicely demonstrated in Coming Up for Air) twisted the book.

I think I prefer We.. I think.. I don't know, I'd have to read them both again within a few weeks of each other.


Emily I've read "1984" seven or eight times since I was in high school and only recently heard about "We." I'e only read it once so far, but the whole time I was thinking that Orwell borrowed heavily from Zamyatin's ideas. I will have to read "We" again before I decide which one I like better. "We" is definitely the more challenging book and somehow seems more original to me. Maybe I've read "1984" too many times, or perhaps it's because "1984" has become so embedded in our culture that it doesn't seem as fresh as a book that is entirely new to me.


message 9: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon I love dystopian literature and have read both books. In my opinion, Zamyatin might have did it 1st, but Orwell did it better. There are passages in 1984 that are brilliant in their bitter satire that surpass anything that Zamyatin was able to do in WE. For example, Winston's explanation of "doublethink"

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.'


Emily Orwell's writing IS brilliant- I just wonder how much of Zamyatin's own style was lost in translation.


Steven One never knows about translations, but the Russian-to-English translations, at least of the classics (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, etc.) have always seemed to retain a particular power for me.

I think Orwell, in a way, "Westernized" "We" - improvement or not, I think it resonates better emotionally ("under the spreading Chestnut tree / I sold you, and you sold me" - you don't have that kind of dystopian sentimentality in We, if I recall correctly, and it adds a poignancy to '1984' that I found lacking in 'We.')

Orwell was definitely one of the top writers of his, or any other, generation. His ability to create such deep and rich parables was marvelous. I don't think any other book does what things like 'Animal Farm' did, with so many layers, in such a compelling way. I am a fan of all the "classic" dystopian fiction of the era (We, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World), but I think 1984 really was a cut above the rest. Not necessarily for the expansiveness of its vision, but precisely for its practicality and how easy it would be to imagine slipping into a world of such totalitarian control (e.g., doubleplusungood and the parallels with all the euphemistic, politically-correct terminology we so blithely accept even today).

Orwell didn't just describe in great detail a vision of a dystopian future, he really got down into the nitty gritty of *how* such a system could arise and function in a deeper way than the other books did.


Emily You have a point here, Steven. '1984' does resonate more. In fact, I wouldn't be all that surprised to wake up in a 1984 world tomorrow... a world where politicians misremember factoids in 140 characters or less...


Steven #newspeak ftw! :P


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