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About the Author
Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) was a Russian author of science fiction and political satire. The son of a Russian Orthodox priest and a musician, Zamyatin studied engineering in Saint Petersburg from 1902 until 1908 in order to serve in the Russian Imperial Navy. During this time, however, he became disillusioned with Tsarist policy and Christianity, turning to Atheism and Bolshevism instead. He was arrested in 1905 during a meeting at a local revolutionary headquarters and was released after a year of torture and solitary confinement. Unable to bear life as an internal exile, Zamyatin fled to Finland before returning to St. Petersburg under an alias, at which time he began writing works of fiction. Arrested once more in 1911, Zamyatin was released and pardoned in 1913, publishing his satire of small-town Russia, A Provincial Tale, to resounding acclaim. Completing his engineering studies, he was sent by the Imperial Russian Navy to England to oversee the development of icebreakers in shipyards along the coast of the North Sea. There, he gathered source material for The Islanders (1918) a satire of English life, before returning to St. Petersburg in 1917 to embark on his literary career in earnest. As the Russian Civil War plunged the country into chaos, Zamyatin became increasingly critical of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, leading to his eventual exile. Between 1920 and 1921, he wrote We (1924), a dystopian novel set in a futuristic totalitarian state. Thought to be influential for the works of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, We is a groundbreaking work of science fiction that earned Zamyatin a reputation as a leading political dissident of his time. With the help of Maxim Gorky, Zamyatin obtained a passport and was permitted to leave the Soviet Union in 1931. Settling in Paris, he spent the rest of his life in exile and deep poverty.