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Guide to the classics: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We inspired Orwell and influenced the Western imagination

By Sheila Fitzpatrick, Professor of History at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Australian Catholic University
This year is the centenary of Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We – a major influence on George Orwell’s dystopia 1984, as well as an important early contribution to the burgeoning genre of science fiction.

We and 1984 (published in 1949) were crucial influences on Cold War western imagination of the Soviet Union as a totalitarian state. But Orwell had never been there, and Zamyatin wrote his dystopia in 1920, a time of chaos and civil war just three years after the Bolsheviks seized power…The Conversation

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