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9780486200019

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Abbott, Edwin A. Author

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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott.

Writing pseudonymously as "a Square", Abbott used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to offer pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions.

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Review:

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.

From the Back Cover:

What if there existed a world consisting of only two spatial dimensions? This mind-bending supposition is the jumping-off point for one of the literature's most celebrated oddities: the 1884 novella Flatland, one of the earliest instances of modern speculative fiction, and perhaps the only instance of mathematical satire.

In Flatland, a lowly square, whose polygonal betters exhibit more sides, discovers pathways to other worlds where, alas, thinking is as rigidly defined as in his own. Class structures, the position of women (who are but mere lines), and the stolidness of religious and political leaders are sent up with chilly aplomb.

Beloved by fans of science fiction, students of dimensional physics, and readers of Victorian literature, this belongs on the shelf of any serious home library.

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Abbott, Edwin A. Author
Published by Dover Publications Inc. (1977)
ISBN 10: 0486200019 ISBN 13: 9780486200019
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