61 Quotes & Sayings By Yevgeny Zamyatin

Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (Евгений Иванович Замятин, born July 11, 1884 in Dobrush, Russia – died February 1, 1937 in Leningrad) was a Russian writer. He is best known for his novel We (Мы), which was published in 1924. It is often considered to be one of the most important works of science fiction of the 20th century. The novel tells the story of a group of people who live isolated from the rest of the world on an isolated island named Novy Island (Новый остров).

You are afraid of it because it is stronger than...
You are afraid of it because it is stronger than you you hate it because you are afraid of it you love it because you cannot subdue it to your will. Only the unsubduable can be loved. Yevgeny Zamyatin
A man is like a novel: until the very last...
A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't even be worth reading. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Don't forget that we lawyers, we're a higher breed of intellect, and so it's our privilege to lie. It's as clear as day. Animals can't even imagine lying: if you were to find yourself among some wild islanders, they too would only speak the truth until they learned about European culture. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Cruel', O'Kelly laughed, 'it's cruel to tell children the truth....
Cruel', O'Kelly laughed, 'it's cruel to tell children the truth. If anything convinces me of God's mercy, then it's his gift of making us unable to lie. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no...
Happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative. Yevgeny Zamyatin
We have long become overgrown with calluses; we no longer...
We have long become overgrown with calluses; we no longer hear people being killed. ("X") Yevgeny Zamyatin
I'm like a machine being run over its RPM limit: The bearings are overheating - a minute longer, and the metal is going to melt and start dripping and that'll be the end of everything. I need a quick splash of cold water, logic. I pour it on in buckets, but the logic hisses on the hot bearings and dissipates in the air as a fleeting white mist. Well, of course, it's clear that you can't establish a function without taking into account what its limit is. And it's also clear that what I felt yesterday, that stupid "dissolving in the universe, " if you take it to its limit, is death. Because that's exactly what death is - the fullest possible dissolving of myself into the universe. Hence, if we let L stand for love and D for death, then L = f (D), i.e., love and death.. . Yevgeny Zamyatin
Knowledge, absolutely sure of its infallibility, is faith
Knowledge, absolutely sure of its infallibility, is faith Yevgeny Zamyatin
True literature can exist only where it is created, not...
True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy functionaries, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Heretics are the only [bitter] remedy against the entropy of...
Heretics are the only [bitter] remedy against the entropy of human thought.(" Literature, Revolution, and Entropy") Yevgeny Zamyatin
Literature is painting, architecture, and music.
Literature is painting, architecture, and music. Yevgeny Zamyatin
We need writers who fear nothing. (
We need writers who fear nothing. ("Our Goal") Yevgeny Zamyatin
The most effective way of destroying art is the canonization...
The most effective way of destroying art is the canonization of one given form. And one philosophy. Yevgeny Zamyatin
It is said there are flowers that bloom only once in a hundred years. Why should there not be some that bloom once in a thousand, in ten thousand years? Perhaps we never know about them simply because this "once in a thousand years" has come today. Yevgeny Zamyatin
But clouds bellied out in the sultry heat, the sky cracked open with a crimson gash, spewed flame-and the ancient forest began to smoke. By morning there was a mass of booming, fiery tongues, a hissing, crashing, howling all around, half the sky black with smoke, and the bloodied sun just barely visible. And what can little men do with their spades, ditches, and pails? The forest is no more, it was devoured by fire: stumps and ash. Perhaps illimitable fields will be plowed here one day, perhaps some new, unheard-of wheat will ripen here and men from Arkansas with shaven faces will weigh in their palms the heavy golden grain. Or perhaps a city will grow up-alive with ringing sound and motion, all stone and crystal and iron-and winged men will come here flying over seas and mountains from all ends of the world. But never again the forest, never again the blue winter silence and the golden silence of summer. And only the tellers of tales will speak in many-colored patterned words about what had been, about wolves and bears and stately green-coated century-old grandfathers, about old Russia; they will speak about all this to us who have seen it with our own eyes ten years - a hundred years! - ago, and to those others, the winged ones, who will come in a hundred years to listen and to marvel at it all as at a fairy tale. ("In Old Russia"). Yevgeny Zamyatin
The sun's champagne streamed from one body into another. And there was a couple on the green silk of the grass, covered by a raspberry umbrella. Only their feet and a little bit of lace could be seen. In the magnificent universe beneath the raspberry umbrella, with closed eyes, they drank in the sparkling madness.' Extra! Extra! Zeppelins over the North Sea at 3 o'clock.' But under the umbrella, in the raspberry universe, they were immortal. What did it matter that in another far-away universe people would be killing each other? . Yevgeny Zamyatin
Darkness. The door into the neighboring room is not quite shut. A strip of light stretches through the crack in the door across the ceiling. People are walking about by lamplight. Something has happened. The strip moves faster and faster and the dark walls move further and further apart, into infinity. This room is London and there are thousands of doors. The lamps dart about and the strips dart across the ceiling. And perhaps it is all delirium.. Something had happened. The black sky above London burst into fragments: white triangles, squares and lines - the silent geometric delirium of searchlights. The blinded elephant buses rushed somewhere headlong with their lights extinguished. The distinct patter along the asphalt of belated couples, like a feverish pulse, died away. Everywhere doors slammed and lights were put out. And the city lay deserted, hollow, geometric, swept clean by a sudden plague: silent domes, pyramids, circles, arches, towers, battlements. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The only means of ridding man of crime is ridding...
The only means of ridding man of crime is ridding him of freedom. Yevgeny Zamyatin
I walked alone through the twilit street. The wind was whirling, driving, carrying me like a slip of paper. Fragments of cast-iron sky flew and flew-they had another day, two days to hurtle through infinity… The unifs of passersby brushed against me, but I walked alone. I saw it clearly: everyone was saved, but there was no salvation for me. I did not want salvation …"(c) Yevgeny Zamyatin
I looked silently at her lips. All women are lips, all lips. Some are pink and firmly round: a ring, a tender guardrail from the whole world. And then there are these ones: a second ago they weren’t here, and just now – like a knife-slit – they are here, still dripping sweet blood. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Accentuated plainness and accentuated vice ought to bring about harmony....
Accentuated plainness and accentuated vice ought to bring about harmony. Beauty lies in harmony, in style, whether it be the harmony of ugliness or beauty, vice or virtue. Yevgeny Zamyatin
If we have no heretics we must invent them, for heresy is essential to health and growth. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Life itself has lost its plane reality: it is projected, not along the old fixed points, but along the dynamic coordinates of Einstein, of revolution. In this new projection, the best-known formulas and objects become displaced, fantastic, familiar-unfamiliar. This is why it is so logical for literature today to be drawn to the fantastic plot, or to the amalgam of reality and fantasy. ("The New Russian Prose"). Yevgeny Zamyatin
But if I am not a criminal, I beg to be permitted to go abroad with my wife temporarily, for at least one year, with the right to return as soon as it becomes possible in our country to serve great ideas in literature without cringing before little men, as soon as there is at least a partial change in the prevailing view concerning the role of the literary artist. (“Letter To Stalin”) Yevgeny Zamyatin
What we need in literature today are vast philosophic horizons; we need the most ultimate, the most fearsome, the most fearless 'Why?' and 'What next?'(" Literature, Revolution, and Entropy") Yevgeny Zamyatin
If human foolishness had been as carefully nurtured and cultivated as intelligence has been for centuries, perhaps it would have turned into something extremely precious. Yevgeny Zamyatin
How do you know nonsense isn't a good thing? if human nonsense had been nurtured and developed for centuries, just as intelligence has, then perhaps something extraordinarily previous could have come from it. Yevgeny Zamyatin
You can only love something that refuses to be mastered. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Children are the only bold philosophers. And bold philosophers are invariably children. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Let my notes, like the most sensitive seismograph, record the curve of even the most insignificant vibrations of my brain: for it is precisely such vibrations that are sometimes the forewarning of... Yevgeny Zamyatin
Tipsy, they tumbled early into bed - to get as much sleep as they could. So they would feel less hunger. The summer catch had been poor; there wasn't much food. They ate with care and looked sideways at the old: the old were gluttons, everybody knew it, and what was the good of feeding them? It wouldn't harm them to starve a little. The hungry dogs howled. The women rinsed the children's bellies with hot water three times a day, so they wouldn't cry so much for food. The old starved silently. ("The North") . Yevgeny Zamyatin
But a thought swarmed in me; what if he, this yellow-eyed being — in his ridiculous, dirty bundle of trees, in his uncalculated life — is happier than us? Yevgeny Zamyatin
...sentences of the court on moral issues are always passed in absentia. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The government (or humanity) would not permit capital punishment for one man, but they permitted the murder of millions a little at a time. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Strictly speaking, she was out of order. This dear 0-, how shall 1 say it? The speed of her tongue is not correctly calculated; the speed per second of her tongue should be slightly less than the speed per second of her thoughts-at any rate not the reverse. Yevgeny Zamyatin
In the ancient world, this was understood by the Christians, our only (if very imperfect) predecessors: Humility is a virtue, pride a vice; We comes from God, I from the Devil. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The world is kept alive only by heretics: the heretic Christ, the heretic Copernicus, the heretic Tolstoy. Our symbol of faith is heresy. (“Tomorrow”) Yevgeny Zamyatin
Revolution is everywhere, in everything. There is no final revolution, no final number. Yevgeny Zamyatin
N-no-o, all that excitement, it wouldn't reach us, ' Timosha spoke gloomily. 'We're like the sunken city of Kitezh, living at the bottom of the lake. We do not hear a thing, and the water over us is muddy and sleepy. And on the surface, way above - why, everything's in flames, and the alarms are ringing.' (“A Provincial Tale”) Yevgeny Zamyatin
And how can there be a final revolution? There is no final one. The number of revolutions is infinite. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The flame will cool tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow (in the Book of Genesis days are equal to years, ages). But someone must see this already today, and speak heretically today about tomorrow. Heretics are the only (bitter) remedy against the entropy of human thought. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The nights were long, like the braids of a pretty girl, and the days were short, like a girl's sense. ("The North") Yevgeny Zamyatin
White-crested waves crash on the shore. The masts sway violently, every which way. In the gray sky the gulls are circling like white flakes. Rain squalls blow past like gray slanting sails, and blue gaps open in the sky. The air brightens. A cold silvery evening. The moon is overhead, and down below, in the water; and all around it-a wide frame of old, hammered, scaly silver. Etched on the silver-silent black fishing boats, tiny black needles of masts, little black men casting invisible lines into the silver. And the only sounds are the occasional plashing of an oar, the creaking of an oarlock, the springlike leap and flip-flop of a fish. ("The North") . Yevgeny Zamyatin
The most agonising thing is to drop doubt into a man about his being a reality, three-dimensional - and not some other kind of reality. Yevgeny Zamyatin
Latchkey! I mean. I want to talk to you. ' He fell silent, glancing behind him and shifting from foot to foot, his waterproof trousers rattling like the bulls' bladders that boys use to learn swimming. Sterlingov angrily spat out his cigarette. ' Well? What about?' ' A. about a secret matter , ' Alyoshka whispered. Dozens of ears floated around them in the dust waves; the whisper was heard, and it ran on like a spark along a gunpowder wick. Alyoshka's secret message, the mysterious special clothing, the deacon's catastrophe-all this was too much. The atmosphere was charged with thousands of volts, and something was needed to discharge the electricity, to clear the air. ("X"). Yevgeny Zamyatin
Do you believe that you will die? Yes man is mortal I am a man ergo.. no that isn't what I mean. I know that you know that. What I am asking is, have you ever actually believed it? Believed it completely? Believed not with your mind but with your body? Actually felt that one the fingers now holding this very piece of paper will be icy and yellow? No, of course you don't believe it. Which is the reason why up until now you haven't jumped from the tenth floor to the pavement. Yevgeny Zamyatin
I'm like a machine being run over its RPM limit. The bearings are overheating: a minute longer and the metal will melt and start dripping and that will be the end of everything. I need a splash of cold water, logic; I pour it on in buckets but the logic hisses on the hot bearings and dissipates in the air as a fleeting white mist Yevgeny Zamyatin
I am like a machine being driven to excessive rotations: the bearings are incandescing and, in a minute, melted metal will begin to drip and everything will turn to nothing. Quick: get cold water, logic. I am pouring it over myself by the bucketload but the logic sizzles on the hot bearings and dissipates elusive white steam into the air. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The only reason I'm writing this down is to show how human reason, even very sharp and exact human reason, can get crazily confused and thrown off the track. Yevgeny Zamyatin
And I learned from my own experience that laughter was the most potent weapon: laughter can kill everything. Yevgeny Zamyatin
The moon, our own, earthly moon is bitterly lonely, because it is alone in the sky, always alone, and there is no one to turn to, no one to turn to it. All it can do is ache across the weightless airy ice, across thousands of versts, toward those who are equally lonely on earth, and listen to the endless howling of dogs. (“A Story About The Most Important Thing”) Yevgeny Zamyatin
The moon climbed out of the ravine, blue, skinny, as if it had been fed on nothing but skimmed milk. It climbed out, and quickly slithered up and up along the finest thread-away from trouble, and on the very top it huddled, crouching on thin legs. ("The Protectress Of Sinners") Yevgeny Zamyatin
The moon hangs alien, heavy, like a lock on a door; the door is tightly shut. ("The North") Yevgeny Zamyatin
Gripped with bitter cold, ice-locked, Petersburg burned in delirium. One knew: out there, invisible behind the curtain of fog, the red and yellow columns, spires, and hoary gates and fences crept on tiptoe, creaking and shuffling. A fevered, impossible, icy sun hung in the fog - to the left, to the right, above, below - a dove over a house on fire. From the delirium-born, misty world, dragon men dived up into the earthly world, belched fog - heard in the misty world as words, but here becoming nothing - round white puffs of smoke. The dragon men dived up and disappeared again into the fog. And trolleys rushed screeching out of the earthly world into the unknown. ("The Dragon"). Yevgeny Zamyatin
They say there is a kind of flower that blooms only once a century, Then couldn't there be one that flowers only once every thousand years - or once every ten thousand years? Maybe there are and we just don't know it because today is itself that once-in-a-thousand-year moment. Yevgeny Zamyatin
In the widely open cup of the armchair was I-330. I, on the floor, embracing her limbs, my head on her lap. We were silent. Everything was silent. Only the pulse was audible. Like a crystal I was dissolving in her, in I-330. I felt most distinctly how the polished facets which limited me in space were slowly thawing, melting away. I was dissolving in her lap, in her, and I became at once smaller and larger, and larger, unembraceable. For she was not she but the whole universe. For a second I and that armchair near the bed, transfixed with joy, we were one. . Yevgeny Zamyatin
More wine for me, pour me some more! " "You smart girl, I knew you're a smart girl, just teasing..” Faces turn red, the dark earth blood is rising. They wink at Pelka, wink at the host: "He knows his goods! " The women feel the buttons constricting them - they undo one, another, a third. By twos the guests go outside to get some air. " Well, my dear guests, are you soaked to the gills? Eh? And now-to dance! Get lively! " The table and the chairs vanish. The middle of the room is empty. Ivan the Monk jumps out of his hole, a tambourine in his hands: "Tim-ta-a-am! Tim-ta-a-am! " “Eh-hey! " the redhead suddenly snatches the tambourine and sweeps off, tapping wildly in a circle. Eyes closed: a white sleepless sun-a white night on the meadow-white columns of smoke swaying over fires.. " Eh-ah! "-to whirl herself to death, to whirl out everything, to empty herself - nothing has ever been.. Heavy boots are thumping on the floor, beards fly in the wind, the frock-coat tails go flying.. hey, get going, faster, faster - a hundred versts an hour! ("The North"). Yevgeny Zamyatin
Do you believe that you will die? Yes, man is mortal, I am a man, ergo... No, that isn't what I mean. I know that you know that. What I'm asking is: Have you ever actually believed it, believe it completely, believe not with your mind but with your body, actually felt that one day the fingers now holding this very piece of paper will be yellow and icy...? Yevgeny Zamyatin
But you can't plead with autumn. No. The midnight wind stalked through the woods, hooted to frighten you, swept everything away for the approaching winter, whirled the leaves. ("The North") Yevgeny Zamyatin
So, take the idea of "rights" and drip some acid on it. Even the most adult of the Ancients knew: the source of a right is power, a right is a function of power. Take two trays of a weighing scale: put a gram on one, and on the other, put a ton. On one side is the "I", on the other is the "WE", the One State. Isn't it clear? Assuming that "I" has the same "rights" compared to the State is exactly the same thing as assuming that a gram can counterbalance a ton. Here is the distribution: a ton has rights, a gram has duties. And this is the natural path from insignificance to greatness: forget that you are a gram, and feel as though you are a millionth part of the ton.. . Yevgeny Zamyatin