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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions…
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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Signet Classics) (original 1884; edition 2005)

by Edwin A. Abbott, Valerie Smith (Introduction)

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6,035111691 (3.76)135
Member:jewelsjoy12
Title:Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Signet Classics)
Authors:Edwin A. Abbott
Other authors:Valerie Smith (Introduction)
Info:Signet Classics (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:NonFiction, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott (1884)

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» See also 135 mentions

English (104)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
A satire of Victorian cultural norms, it's the story of a denizen of a two dimensional world, a square by the name A. Square. The first half skewers the class system and the deplorable condition of women. Going into this book, I thought it was only a satire of the class system, so I initially believed the misogyny was merely background noise. After a few pages though, it became so outrageous that I realized it was also satirical. Bravo, M Abbot. At the end there's some stuff about art, science, and individual expression, but I'm not sure how successful that was/is.
The second half concerns A Square's dream of a one dimensional world, and a forced journey to 3D world wherein he can see the nature of his own world. This forms the background into some pointed questions about political authority and religious veracity, especially when Square attempts to get a 3D Sphere to contemplate a 4th dimension. It's a bit forced, and is less satire and more questioning, but I think it still works.
4 stars oc, 3.5 for the book, and an extra .5 because my copy smells fantastic. ( )
1 vote starcat | Aug 11, 2014 |
An amusing and petite (82 pp)mathematical fantasy written over a century ago, Flatland proves to be a gentle social satire a la Gulliver's Travels that doesn't quite manage to rise above the sexism and classism of its time (even while poking fun at such social prejudices). Flatland's Gulliver is a Professional Man Square (for comparison, Middle Class Men are Equilateral Triangles, all Women are Straight Lines & Lower Class Males are Isosceles Triangles of varying angles, the more acute, the lower the class) in a two-dimensional world where the ultimate goal is to engender a Circle. He visits the one-dimensional world of the line in a dream, the no-dimensional world of the point in his imagination and the three-dimensional world of the cube and the sphere with the assistance of a guide from Spaceland. He is ultimately imprisoned (what else could be his fate?) as a heretic (his heresy, the news of 3-dimensional Space). ( )
1 vote Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Impressed with how the author uses fiction to explain a complex concept and provoke thought. ( )
1 vote MeriwetherR | May 19, 2014 |
Absolutely brilliant - a true masterpiece. The premise is so simple - just the basics of elementary school mathematics. Abbott makes characters out of basic shapes with such diversity and far reaching social commentaries that are as relevant today as it was in the time in which he wrote it. ( )
1 vote KimMarie1 | May 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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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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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
"O day and night, but this is wondrous strange" [Hamlet]

"Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk!" [Titus Andronicus]
Dedication
To
The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL
And H. C. IN PARTICULAR
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
With ONLY TWO
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
Of SOLID HUMANITY
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.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:58 -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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