Zamiatin, Evgenii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zamiatin, Evgenii Ivanovich


Born Jan. 20 (Feb. 1), 1884, in Lebedian’, in present-day Lipetsk Oblast; died Mar. 10, 1937, in Paris. Russian writer.

Zamiatin graduated from the shipbuilding department of the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute. He participated in the Revolution of 1905–07. He published his first work in 1908. Prior to the October Revolution, Zamiatin’s creative work developed along the lines of Russian critical realism and was colored with democratic tendencies. His best novella, “Tale of a District” (1913), grotesquely and satirically de-scribes the life of the Russian provincial lower middle class. In 1914, Zamiatin published At World’s End, an antimilitaristic novella for which he was prosecuted.

In 1916, Zamiatin went to England, whose bourgeois, dehumanizing civilization provided him with material for his satirical novella Islanders (1918). He returned to Russia in the fall of 1917, but he was unable to accept the reality of the revolution. His works from 1917 on are marked by a deep pessimism, also felt in his essays (“I am Afraid,” 1921). In his many highly stylized fantastic-allegorical stories, parables, and dramatic scenarios—for example, The Cave (1920, published in 1921) and Tulumbas: The Epistle of Humble Zamutii, Bishop of the Apes (1921)—Zamiatin distortedly depicts wartime communism and the Civil War as a return to a primitive “cave” existence. His antiutopian novel We (1921, published in England in 1924) expresses his hostility towards socialism. In 1932 he was granted permission by the Soviet government to go abroad.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1929.


Pisateli sovremennoi epokhi, vol. 1. Moscow, 1928.
Voronskii, A. “Evgenii Zamiatin.” In his book Literaturnokriticheskie stat’i. Moscow, 1963.
Kuznetsov, M. M.Sovetskii roman. Moscow, 1963.
Andreev, lu. A.Revoliutsiia i literatura. Leningrad, 1969. Pages 51–58.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.