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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by…

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)

by Edwin A. Abbott, Edwin Abbott Abbott

Other authors: Banesh Hoffmann (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (122)  Italian (6)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All (133)
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A prolix quadrilateral named A. Square explains how things are done in Flatland, a two dimensional space where one's role in society is determined by the number of sides one has. Isosceles triangles are at the bottom of the rigid hierarchy and circles (which are regarded as having a large number of "sides") are at the top. Women, who are lines (or, more accurately, very thin parallelograms) are beneath contempt. Square also describes his visions of Lineland and Pointland, and his experiences learning from a mysterious being (a Sphere) about three-dimensional Spaceland. When he tries to share his newfound knowledge of multiple dimensions with the inhabitants of Flatland, he finds that he is treated as a heretic.

As prior commentators on Flatland have observed, the book combines geometric observations with a satire on Victorian ideas of social hierarchy. I found this novella to be surprisingly entertaining and on-target, even for me as a non-geometrically inclined reader. ( )
  akblanchard | Aug 26, 2017 |
A 19thC classic which combines a satire of Victorian society with a mathematics lesson. That makes it sound dire, but it's not. The chapters on how the residents of "Lineland" create social hierarchy and treat women are both amusing and infuriating, and while the geometry musings can get a big long at times, it's a fascinating way of thinking about dimensions.

I listened to an audiobook I'd had in my Audible library for years, and for the most part it was OK, but the long speeches got irritating at times. ( )
  Sunita_p | Aug 16, 2017 |
It was a fun re-read, I read it first about 100 years ago while in high school. Published in 1884, it usually gets categorized as Science Fiction, but it’s a social satire that skewers Victorian mores, especially how women were viewed by that society. And it examines dimensions. The main character is a 2 dimensional square who has a glimpse of the 3rd dimension, which sets him thinking in a new way.

It’s a pleasant little story. ( )
  RonTyler | Aug 11, 2017 |
This was fascinating. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
I'm of 2 minds with this one. The story itself was entertaining. I loved the idea of a whole world (or set of worlds) based on math. There was so much sexism and classism throughout that I could not really enjoy it though. It's worth a read certainly for some of it's ideas, but I'm not certain the good ideas outweigh the problems. ( )
  ktlavender | Jul 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Edwin A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abbott, Edwin Abbottmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoffmann, BaneshIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewdney, A. K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelmann, HeinzCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jann, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalka, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lightman, Alan P.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"O day and night, but this is wondrous strange" [Hamlet]

"Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk!" [Titus Andronicus]
The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL
This Work is Dedicated
By a Humble Native of Flatland
In the Hope that
Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries
Of THREE Dimensions
Having been previously conversant
So the Citizens of that Celestial Region
May aspire yet higher and higher
To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN SIX Dimensions
Thereby contributing
To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION
And the possible Development
Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY
Among the Superior Races
First words
I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space.
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Cela doit vous apprendre que la satisfaction de soi-même trahit un être vil et ignorant, et que mieux vaut aspirer à quelque chose qu'être heureux aveuglément et dans l'impuissance.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Annotated Flatland has substantial commentary by Ian Stewart and so is a separate work.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 048627263X, Paperback)

Flatland is one of the very few novels about math and philosophy that can appeal to almost any layperson. Published in 1880, this short fantasy takes us to a completely flat world of two physical dimensions where all the inhabitants are geometric shapes, and who think the planar world of length and width that they know is all there is. But one inhabitant discovers the existence of a third physical dimension, enabling him to finally grasp the concept of a fourth dimension. Watching our Flatland narrator, we begin to get an idea of the limitations of our own assumptions about reality, and we start to learn how to think about the confusing problem of higher dimensions. The book is also quite a funny satire on society and class distinctions of Victorian England.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A science fiction classic. The narrator is A. Square, whose flat, middle-class life is suddenly given an exciting new shape by his encounter with a sphere. The sphere introduces A. Square to the joys and sorrows of the third dimension, and the reader is drawn into the deligtful subtleties and irrepressible logic of multidimensional thinking.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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