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Facets of Russian Communism Within Fictional Utopian Literature

Uploaded by ahstillwell on Oct 30, 2006

Historically, fictional literature has been used to reflect on the life of the time in which it is written. Authors, thrown by the system and displeased by developments, take what they know and use it to make a statement. Over the course of history, authors have jabbed huge incidents such as the French Revolution in Charles Dickins’ A Tale of Two Cities, missionary invasion and Chinese poverty in Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, and Chinese Communism in Anchee Min’s Becoming Madame Mao. On the topic of the Russian Revolution, Russian Communism, and the plight of the country’s people, however, many volumes of fictional literature have been written. Examples of these tomes are Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. The ideas within these works of fiction tie in with ideas found in historical literature such as Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Richard Pipes’ Communism: A History, and lastly Ronald Grigor Suny’s The Structure of Soviet History. With the use of class readings and outside readings of fictional utopian literature, a succinct image of both the facets of perfect Communism and the failings of Communism may be developed.

In the order of publication, the first utopian literature to be written was by the Russian author Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin. Born in Lebedian, Russia in 1884, Zamyatin was the son of a priest and a musician. Under czarism, he joined the Bolshevik Party and was arrested for his revolutionary activities. Even though he was exiled, he lived illegally in St Petersburg and studied to become a naval architect. After a series of lectures at the Polytechnic Institute, he was once again arrested but was quickly granted amnesty and was sent to England to aid in the construction of icebreakers. On the eve of the Russian Revolution, he returned to Russia. Although in favour with the Party for a long time following his return to Russia, he began to grow weary of the Party’s repression of freedoms and the harshness of the new regime. Quickly the tables turned and Zamyatin found all of his large body of work, which included stories, plays, essays, and many Soviet newspaper articles, banned. After writing a letter to Josef Stalin, Zamyatin was able to go into exile with his wife and died in poverty in Paris in 1937. It wasn’t until Mikhail Gorbachev’s reign that his pieces such as...

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Uploaded by:   ahstillwell

Date:   10/30/2006

Category:   Russian History

Length:   21 pages (4,735 words)

Views:   3454

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