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Overview

In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall. But one frontier remains: outer space. Now, with the creation of the spaceship Integral, that frontier-and whatever alien species are to be found there-will be subjugated to the beneficent yoke of reason.

One number, D-503, chief architect of the Integral, decides to record his thoughts in the final days before the launch for the benefit of less advanced societies. But a chance meeting with the beautiful I-330 results in an unexpected discovery that threatens everything D-503 believes about himself and the One State. The discovery-or rediscovery-of inner spaceand that disease the ancients called the soul.

A page-turning SF adventure, a masterpiece of wit and black humor that accurately predicted the horrors of Stalinism, We is the classic dystopian novel. Its message of hope and warning is as timely at the end of the twentieth century as it was at the beginning.

"we is one of the great novels of the twentieth century."(— Irving Howe)

"One of the best!"(— New York Review of Books)

"As the first major anti-utopian fantasyhas its own peculiar wryness and grace, sharper than the pamphleteering of 1984 or thephilosophical scheme of Brave New World, its celebrated descendants."(— Kirkus Reviews)

"Fantastic."(— The New York Times)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434105363
Publisher: Waking Lion Press
Publication date: 12/15/2023
Pages: 266
Sales rank: 598,473
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Yevgeny Zamyatin was born in Russia in 1884. Arrested during the abortive 1905 revolution, he was exiled twice from St. Petersburg, then given amnesty in 1913. We, composed in 1920 and 1921, elicited attacks from party-line critics and writers. In 1929, the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers launched an all-out attack against him. Denied the right to publish his work, he requested permission to leave Russia, which Stalin granted in 1931. Zamyatin went to Paris, where he died in 1937.

Mirra Ginsburg is a distinguished translator of Russian and Yiddish works by such well-known authors as Mikhail Bulgakov, Isaac Babel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Editor and translator of three anthologies of Soviet science fiction, she has also edited and translated A Soviet Heretic: Essays by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and History of Soviet Literature by Vera Alexandrova.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

First Entry

T0PICS:A Proclamation
The Wisest of Lines
A Poem

I shall simply copy, word for word, the proclamation that appeared today in the One State Gazette:

The building of the Integral will be completed in one hundred and twenty days. The great historic hour when the first Integral will soar into cosmic space is drawing near. One thousand years ago your heroic ancestors subdued the entire terrestrial globe to the power of the One State. Yours will be a still more glorious feat: you will integrate the infinite equation of the universe with the aid of the fire-breathing, electric glass Integral. You will subjugate the unknown beings on other planets, who may still be living in the primitive condition of freedom, to the beneficent yoke of reason. If they fail to understand that we bring them mathematically infallible happiness, it will be our duty to compel them to be happy. But before resorting to arms, we shall try the power of words.

In the name of the Benefactor, therefore, we proclaim to all the numbers of the One State:

Everyone who feels capable of doing so must compose tracts, odes, manifestoes, Poems, or other works extolling the beauty and the grandeur of the One

State.

This will be the first cargo to be carried by the In

tegral.

Long live the One State, long live the numbers,

long live the Benefactor!

I write this, and I feel: my cheeks are burning. Yes, to integrate the grandiose cosmic equation. Yes, to unbend the wild, primitive curve and straighten it to a tangent-an asymptote — a straight line. For the line of the One State is thestraight line. The great, divine, exact, wise straight linethe wisest of all lines.

1, D-503, Builder of the Integral, am only one of the mathematicians of the One State. My pen, accustomed to figures, does not know how to create the music of assonances and rhymes. I shall merely attempt to record what I see and think, Or, to be more exact, what we think (precisely so-we, and let this We be the title of MY record) . But since this record will be a derivative of our life, of the mathematically Perfect life of the One State, will it not be, of itself, and regardless of my will or skill, a poem? it will. I believe, I know it

I write this, and my cheeks are burning- This must be similar to what a woman feels when she first senses within herself the pulse of a new, still tiny, still blind little human being. It is 1, and at the same time, not 1. And for many long months it will be necessary to nourish it with my own life, my own blood, then tear it painfully from myself and lay it at the feet of the One State.

But I am ready, like every one, or almost every one, of us. I am ready.

Second Entry

TOPICS:Ballet
Square Harmony
X

Spring. From beyond the Green Wall, from the wild, invisible plains, the wind brings yellow honey pollen of some unknown flowers. The sweet pollen dries your lips, and every minute you pass your tongue over them. The Ups of all the women you see must be sweet (of the men, too, of course). This interferes to some extent with the flow of logical thought.

But the sky! Blue, unblemished by a single cloud. (How wild the tastes of the ancients, whose poets could be inspired by those absurd, disorderly, stupidly tumbling piles of vapor!) I Iove — I am certain I can safely say, we love-only such a sterile, immaculate sky. On days like this the whole world is cast of the same impregnable, eternal glass as the Green Wall, as all our buildings. On days like this you see the bluest depth of things, their hitherto unknown, astonishing equations-you see them even in the most familiar everyday objects.

Take, for instance, this. In the morning I was at the dock where the Integral is being built, and suddenly I saw: the lathes; the regulator spheres rotating with dosed eyes, utterly oblivious of all; the cranks flashing, swinging left and right; the balance beam proudly swaying its shoulders; the bit of the slotting machine dancing up and down in time to unheard music. Suddenly I saw the whole beauty of this grandiose mechanical ballet, flooded with pale blue sunlight.

And then, to myself: Why is this beautiful? Why is dance beautiful? Answer: because it is unfree motion, because the whole profound meaning of dance lies precisely in absolute, esthetic subordination, in ideal unfreedom. And if it is true that our forebears abandoned themselves to dance at the most exalted moments of their lives (religious mysteries, military parades), it means only one thing: the instinct of unfreedom is organically inherent in man from time immemorial, and we, in our present life, are only consciously....

I will have to finish later: the annunciator clicked. I looked up: 0-90, of course. In half a minute she'll be here, for our daily walk.

Dear O! It always seems to me that she looks exactly like her name: about ten centimeters shorter than the Maternal Norm, and therefore carved in the round, all of her, with that pink O, her mouth, open to meet every word I say. And also, that round, plump fold on her wrist, like a baby's.

When she came in, the flywheel of logic was still humming at full swing within me, and I began, by sheer force of inertia, to speak to her about the formula I had just established, which encompassed everything — dance, machines, and all of us.

"Marvelous, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yes, marvelous." O-90 smiled rosily at me. "It's spring."

Well, wouldn't you know: spring ... She talks ,about spring. Women ... I fell silent.

Downstairs, the avenue was full. In such weathers the...

Table of Contents

We Introduction: Zamyatin and the Rooster
Notes to Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
WERecord 1
Announcement
The Wisest of Lines
An Epic Poem
Record 2
Ballet
Harmony Squared
X
Record 3
Jacket
Wall
The Table
Record 4
Savage with Barometer
Epilepsy
If
Record 5
Square
Rulers of the World
Pleasant and Useful Function
Record 6
Accident
Damned "Clear"
24 Hours
Record 7
An Eyelash
Taylor
Henbane and Lily of the Valley
Record 8
The Irrational Root
R-13
Triangle
Record 9
Liturgy
Iambs and Trochees
Cast-Iron Hand
Record 10
Letter
Membrane
Hairy Me
Record 11
No, I Can't...
Skip the Contents
Record 12
Limitation of Infinity
Angel
Reflections on Poetry
Record 13
Fog
Familiar "You"
An Absolutely Inane Occurrence
Record 14
"Mine"
Forbidden
Cold Floor
Record 15
Bell
Mirror-like Sea
My Fate to Burn Forever
Record 16
Yellow
Two-Dimensional Shadow
Incurable Soul
Record 17
Through Glass
I Died
Hallways
Record 18
Logical Labyrinth
Wounds and Plaster
Never Again
Record 19
Third-Order Infinitesimal
A Sullen Glare
Over the Parapet
Record 20
Discharge
Idea Material
Zero Cliff
Record 21
An Author's Duty
Swollen Ice
The Most Difficult Love
Record 22
Frozen Waves
Everything Tends to Perfection
I Am a Microbe
Record 23
Flowers
Dissolution of a Crystal
If Only
Record 24
Limit of Function
Easter
Cross It All Out
Record 25
Descent from Heaven
History's Greatest Catastrophe
End of the Known
Record 26
The World Exists
A Rash
41 Centigrade
Record 27
No Contents - Can't
Record 28
Both Women
Entropy and Energy
Opaque Part of the Body
Record 29
Threads on the Face
Shoots
Unnatural Compression
Record 30
The Final Number
Galileo's Mistake
Wouldn't It Be Better?
Record 31
The Great Operation
I Have Forgiven Everything
A Train Wreck
Record 32
I Do Not Believe
Tractors
The Human Chip
Record 33
(No Time for Contents, Last Note)
Record 34
Those on Leave
A Sunny Night
Radio-Valkyrie
Record 35
In a Hoop
Carrot
Murder
Record 36
Blank Pages
The Christian God
About My Mother
Record 37
Infusorian
Doomsday
Her Room
Record 38
(I Don't Know What Goes Here, Maybe Just: A Cigarette Butt)
Record 39
The End
Record 40
Facts
The Bell
I Am Certain
Translator's Notes

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"One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century." —-Irving Howe

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