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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Abbott, Edwin A.

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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. Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows—only hard and with luminous edges—and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said "my universe": but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things. In such a country, you will perceive at once that it is impossible that there should be anything of what you call a "solid" kind; but I dare say you will suppose that we could at least distinguish by sight the Triangles, Squares, and other figures, moving about as I have described them. On the contrary, we could see nothing of the kind, not at least so as to distinguish one figure from another. Nothing was visible, nor could be visible, to us, except Straight Lines; and the necessity of this I will speedily demonstrate.

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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.


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.

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Abbott, Edwin A. Author
Published by Dover Publications Inc. (1977)
ISBN 10: 0486200019 ISBN 13: 9780486200019
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Dover Publications Inc., 1977. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service!. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0486200019

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