Anti-Utopia as a Means of Polemics: Some Aspects of Bogdanov’s Red Star and Zamjatin’s We

Vera Aginsky, Iowa State University

The novel We was Zamjatin’s response both to the utopia of socialist construction and the writings of proletarian writers of his time. Aleksandr Bogdanov was a famous Russian philosopher, sociologist, and scientist. His novel Red Star was written in 1908. It is the diary of a young man, Leonid, who unexpectedly was invited to the planet of Mars as a representative of the Earth. The diary depicts a perfect ideal utopian society on Mars. The United State in the anti-utopia of Zamjatin has much in common with it. The comparison of the two novels is not a new topic. Research has been done in this field by Brett Cooke, Patricia Carden, Richard Stites, and others. In my paper I will compare in detail some aspects of life in the two societies depicted by Bogdanov and Zamjatin, such as: “I and We – the individual and society,” “Work and private life,” “Love, marriage and bringing up children,” “Literature and art.” In his We Zamjatin depicted the future of the societies idealized by Proletkul’t literature, and Bogdanov as its representative, thus using the genre of anti-utopia as a means for his polemics.