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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions…

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Oxford World's Classics) (original 1884; edition 2006)

by Edwin A. Abbott, Rosemary Jann (Editor)

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6,171119661 (3.76)141
Title:Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Edwin A. Abbott
Other authors:Rosemary Jann (Editor)
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2006), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott (1884)


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English (111)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (118)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Flatland is a brilliant little novel which is both a social satire and a lesson in open-mindedness, in both cases using geometry as a language of instruction. The narrator is a Square, living in a world of only two dimensions where all living creatures are just flat geometric figures. The first half of the novel is simply a description of his world, Flatland, its people and institutions. The Square is writing for a three-dimensional reader, so he describes his world in terms we can understand. Much attention is given to the various classes of people, from the lowly triangles, to the middle-class squares and hexagons, all the way up to the revered circles. Many of the attitudes and practices of Flatland, which seem ludicrous to us when presented in such a fashion, clearly refer to the class distinctions, gender biases, and social mores of Victorian England.

In the second half of the novel the Square first has a dream in which he visits a one-dimensional world consisting of a single line. It's inhabitants are line segments living perpetually end-to-end. The Square addresses the king of Lineland and attempts to explain to him the reality of two dimensions, but the poor Line is unable to conceive of another dimension and eventually dismisses the Square as an evil phantom.

Next, the Square is visited by an intruder from another dimension, a Sphere from Spaceland. The Sphere tries to explain a third dimension to the Square just as the Square tried to explain a second dimension to the Line, but the results are the same. Finally the Sphere physically pushes the Square into the third dimension where a revelation awaits him.

Flatland is a book that challenges us to see commonplace things in new ways and to understand that the point of view of another person may be outside the realm of our experience. Even though it refers often to the concepts of geometry, no particular knowledge is required of the reader. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote StevenTX | Jul 20, 2015 |
This is on my "best ever" list because it was written by a priest in 1884.

It's a different sort of book. ( )
  meekGee | Jul 6, 2015 |
Don't remember much except that the parable of human foibles was more important than the math, but the math was interesting. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
A wonderful mixture of science fiction and satire ( )
  lee-mervin | Apr 4, 2015 |
One of the most important book I've ever read. It was written a long time ago but still remains one of the best mind stretching ways to open you mind up to understanding the dimensionality of reality. The implications are not merely scientific. The theological implications are significant as well. For instance, if God exists outside of the dimension of time (I believe he is both within and without) then for Him there is no predestination or foreknowledge. Only knowledge of all things.

I am adding this note on this book in Jan 2011. I read this book in 2003 (borrowed from Jonathan Jessup) and it is still shaping the way I see the world. I need to re-read for a refresher. :) ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Edwin A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewdney, A. K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelmann, HeinzCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffman, BaneshIntroductionsecondary 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.)
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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