Zamyatin: We – 2

belle 1

Our poets no longer soar in the empyrean; they have come down to earth, they are striding side by side with us, keeping in step with the austere, mechanical March issuing from the Musical Factory; their lyre is the matutinal swishing of electrical tooth-brushes, and the awesome crackling of sparks in the Machine of The Benefactor, and the majestic echo of The Hymn of The One State, and the intimate tinkling of a night pot shaped like a vase and made of sparkling crystal, and the exhilarating clatter of falling window blinds, and the joyous voices of the latest cook book, and the barely audible susurration of the listening membranes under the streets.

Our gods are here, below, in our midst: in the Bureaus, in the kitchen, in the workshop, in the lavatory – the gods have become even as we; ergo, we have become even as the gods. And we shall come to you, my unknown planetary readers – we shall come to you to make your life even as divinely rational and regular as ours.

Yevgeny Zamyatin, We, (1920) Trans., Bernard Guilbert Guerney, Penguin, London, 1984, 78

Part two/to be continued…

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Zamyatin: We – 1

Salvador Dali, ’Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man’, oil on canvas, 1943

Salvador Dali, ’Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man’, oil on canvas, 1943

The idea had never come into my head before – but then the thing is precisely thus: we who live on this earth are constantly walking over a burbling, blood-red sea of fire hidden there, deep within the maw of the earth. But we never think of that. But now suppose that this thin shell under our feet were suddenly turned to glass, that we were suddenly to see –

I had turned to glass. I saw into myself, deep within me. There were two Is. One I was my former self, D-503, the number D-503, while the other…Up to now he had merely shoved his shaggy hands just a little out of the shell, but now all of him was crawling out; the shell was cracking, any minute now it would fly into smithereens and…and what then?

Yevgeny Zamyatin, We, (1920) Trans., Bernard Guilbert Guerney, Penguin, London, 1984, 67-68

Part one/to be continued…

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