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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by…

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)

by Edwin A. Abbott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (136)  Italian (6)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
Flatland is a Victorian novel about social class and mathematics. A. Square, our narrator, is a scholar and introduces the reader to the civilization of Flatland, its people and character. He had led a normal life up until he was visited by Sphere and taken on a tour of several dimensions. After his journey life becomes complicated.

Notably, Flatland exists in the 2nd dimension and is governed by a ruling class of polyhedrals who keep a tight grip on the teeming lower classes. Status is determined by what figure you are and male children have one more side then their fathers. Triangles are the most common and their fate is determined by the acuteness of their angles which is an indicator of intelligence. Women are exclusively straight lines and therefore silly and unpredictably volatile.

The novel moves quickly, covering the mechanics of movement, episodes in Flatland's history, and its government. The story works as an introduction to mathematical thought and as a social satire. Square cannot comprehend Sphere until he is forcibly removed from his world and on returning is left without the tools to educate those around him about what he saw. He is punished accordingly. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
As one interested in mathematics in sci-fi, this book has been on my to read list for some time. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. It is unique and a bit difficult to describe. Partly it is a satire of English culture in 1884. Partly it is anthropomorphizing geometric figures, with surprisingly convincing results. That’s the sci-fi, Abbott’s imagined universe. But basically it is a very clever mathematical proof of the existence of God. Having recently read Frankenstein, I was delighted at the main character’s, A. Square, description of himself as “a second Prometheus.” ( )
  drardavis | Jan 22, 2019 |
This in a strange story from the 1880s, a mix of classical philosophy, Euclidean geometry and satire about contemporary mores. It hasn’t aged well and now it is quite hard to understand whether the author deadpans a specific issue or really support it. This can be interesting to connoisseurs of the genre but not the general public.

The novel is a story told by a Square, who lives in Flatland, 2D reality, with a society loosely based on Plato’s writings and Greek history, especially of the ancient Sparta. It speaks about a rigid, hieratical society, where women are considered less rational than the lowest of man, where “wrong” geometrical figures are culled and their wrongness to a large extent reminds of Lombroso’s Physiognomy.

Geometry concepts and grasp of higher dimensions may be of historical interest, but modern text and tools on the subject are definitely stronger.
( )
  Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
Incredibly original and well thought out - It was scary how often I formed a question of semantics only for it to be answered in the next paragraph. ( )
  Zaccer | Jan 2, 2019 |
Incredibly original and well thought out - It was scary how often I formed a question of semantics only for it to be answered in the next paragraph. ( )
  Zaccer | Jan 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (62 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
Hoffmann, BaneshIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jann, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalka, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lightman, Alan P.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
Last words
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 17 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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