Warning: Potential Spoilers of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We!
My book club recently finished reading an English translation of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, originally published in 1924 in Russian. We don't know any Russian (even its alphabet), but we were very curious how certain elements were expressed in the original. We'd be so grateful if someone, whether familiar with the novel or not, could describe the translation of these elements for us, the best they can. I imagine the full Russian text should be easy to find, somewhere online.
Since this is a fairly involved question, I'll upvote answers to any one of the below. Thanks on behalf of all of us!
In the fourth paragraph of chapter ("Record") 36, the translation reads
Only when He had stopped talking did I regain consciousness again and I saw: the hand moved ahundredton-ly, slowly crawling, a finger was fixing toward me.
I love this invented word, ahundredton-ly. What was it in Russian? If also an invented word, does it sound similarly strange as the English word here? Or is there no strangeness at all in Russian, and the translator added his / her own zest?
In chapter ("Record") 8, the English translation repeatedly mentions the "Irrational Root," i.e. what we in America typically call the imaginary root. My hypothesis is that either Zamyatin or the translator intentionally departed from mathematical correctness to use the word "Irrational" in contrast to rationality. What Russian word is used, and is it the same word used to describe the square root of -1 (imaginary)? Or the square root of 2 (irrational).
In the English translation, the characters names appear to be consonants for men, vowels for women. How was this done in the Russian alphabet? (I'll give brief descriptions of each character to aid matching them up in the Russian text.) We especially wondered if there was any significance to the letter "I" and "U," given the book is called "We"; we imagine Russian pronouns would work too differently for this to have been intended; or did Zamyatin do something entirely different yet symbolic in his original?
- D-503: Narrator and main character.
- R-13: D-503's friend; suggested to be black; speaks gutturally.
- S-4711: D-503's "Guardian"; follows him everywhere; "squishy" footsteps.
- O-90: D-503's original partner; often described "pink"; innocent and devoted to D-503.
- I-330: Leader of rebellion; disappears mysteriously; has D-503 wrapped around her finger.
- U: Older woman; takes care of children; motherly figure to D-503.