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Flatland by E Abbott
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Flatland (1884)

by E Abbott

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8,559168733 (3.76)168
A square, who is a resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, dreams of the one-dimensional Lineland. He attempts to convince the monarch of Lineland of the possibility of another dimension, but the monarch cannot see outside the line. The square is then visited himself by a Sphere from three-dimensional Spaceland, who must show the square Spaceland before he can conceive it. As more dimensions enter the scene, the story's discussion of fixed thought and the kind of inhuman action which accompanies it intensifies.… (more)
Member:ucsbphilosophy
Title:Flatland
Authors:E Abbott
Info:Publisher Unknown
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Work details

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

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» See also 168 mentions

English (155)  Italian (7)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
A bit of a mind bender and an interesting read. ( )
  nosborm | Oct 10, 2021 |
A Book With Non-Human Characters

I don't remember how I stumbled on to Flatland for this category—most search results list books with animals—but I'm glad I did. The first-person narrator of Edwin A. Abbott's short novel first explains the physical mechanics and societal organization of his two-dimensional space, which he calls Flatland for his readers' benefit, then relays his "personal" story of leaving Flatland for the three-dimensional world with the assistance of an alien visitor, Sphere. The quotes around personal reflect the fact that our narrator is a square, rather than a human, who occupies the respectable position of attorney due to his four sides. In Flatland, the more sides an individual has, the higher his position in society. Sphere has a third dimension previously unknown and unimagined in two-dimensional Flatland, a dimension which confers status far beyond that of any shape living in Flatland. Eventually, the square comes to treat Sphere as a god.

In some ways Flatland is reflective of its time (1884) and place (England). Flatland is a patriarchal society, where women are the simplest geometric shape (straight lines) and are restricted from education. It's telling that, when viewed head-on, women are essentially invisible. Owing to the sharpness of their terminal ends, they are also extremely dangerous physically to the other inhabitants of Flatland and are required to emit a Peace-cry to warn those around them of their presence. The highest societal position is that of Priests, who are circles.

In other ways, it is still relatable 137 years after its initial publication. The conflict between the various shapes is analogous to today's world. The upper shapes look down on and use the lower shapes for their own benefit. The lower shapes resent the upper shapes. Their attempt to overthrow the societal hierarchy employs color, rather than weapons, to eliminate the cognitive differences between the shapes.

Flatland is an interesting thought experiment about the universality of human nature, regardless of physical reality. ( )
  skavlanj | Sep 29, 2021 |
'Flatland' is quite unlike anything I have ever read. It tells the story of a square living in two-dimensional space; the first part of the book describes the life of this square and the society he inhabits, all of which perfectly sets up the second part of the book, where a three-dimensional being interrupts the square's life to show him that Space is not what it seems.

A magnificent triumph of a book, one that will have you thinking and thinking. It reminded me of Butler's 'Erewhon' but arguably better executed - mostly because of its delicate focus on the matters at hand. There is very little by way of moralising - the reader is left to draw their own conclusions, and so a Christian reading this book will draw analogies with the Christ legend, while atheists will find in it arguments aplenty against all manner of religion. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Sep 9, 2021 |
A story of prejudice among creatures of two dimensions. ( )
  TanyaRead | Sep 3, 2021 |
Though-provoking exploration of dimensionality and perspective. ( )
  AlexanderPatico | Jul 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (51 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Abbott, Edwin A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Amico, MasolinoTranslatorsecondary 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
Manganelli, GiorgioAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"O day and night, but this is wondrous strange"
"Fie, fie, how franticly I square my talk!"
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
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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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A square, who is a resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, dreams of the one-dimensional Lineland. He attempts to convince the monarch of Lineland of the possibility of another dimension, but the monarch cannot see outside the line. The square is then visited himself by a Sphere from three-dimensional Spaceland, who must show the square Spaceland before he can conceive it. As more dimensions enter the scene, the story's discussion of fixed thought and the kind of inhuman action which accompanies it intensifies.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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