Flatland

Flatland

3.8 126
by Edwin Abbott
     
 

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Flatland (1884) is an influential mathematical fantasy that simultaneously provides an introduction to non-Euclidean geometry and a satire on the Victorian class structure, issues of science and faith, and the role of women. A classic of early science fiction, the novel takes place in a world of two dimensions where all the characters are geometric shapes

Overview

Flatland (1884) is an influential mathematical fantasy that simultaneously provides an introduction to non-Euclidean geometry and a satire on the Victorian class structure, issues of science and faith, and the role of women. A classic of early science fiction, the novel takes place in a world of two dimensions where all the characters are geometric shapes. The narrator, A Square, is a naïve, respectable citizen who is faced with proof of the existence of three dimensions when he is visited by a sphere and is forced to see the limitations of his world.

The introduction to this Broadview Edition provides context for the book’s references to Victorian culture and religion, mathematical history, and the history of philosophy. The appendices contain contemporary reviews; extracts from the work of fellow mathematical fantasy writer/mathematician Charles Hinton; Hermann von Helmboltz’s “The Axioms of Geometry” (1870); and autobiographical passages from Abbott’s The Kernel and the Husk (1886).

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Part mathematical exploration, part satire, and part fairy tale, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot has been around for more than a century and remains a standard in mathematics education…The Broadview Edition of the book combines the text with a variety of notes and essays that enhance the reading and study of this classic.” — Bill Wood, The Mathematical Association of America

“Handing its reader the full range of Abbott’s cultural sources and pedagogical motives in one volume, Lila Marz Harper’s edition of Flatland is a welcome event. Her detailed introduction provides a comprehensive overview of Flatland’s intellectual landscape and a generous sampling of current critical discussion. The content of the appendices is well chosen; especially useful is the lengthy selection from Jowett’s translation of Plato’s allegory of the Cave. Placing Abbott’s perennial mathematical parable and curious social critique squarely into its Victorian contexts, Harper also traces Flatland’s deep philosophical roots and spiritual aspirations.” — Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University

“Among the most enduring works of Victorian fiction, Flatland justly continues to attract both popular and scholarly attention. Lila Marz Harper’s richly annotated edition rewards readers by illuminating a variety of perspectives that can be profitably adopted when exploring Abbott’s imaginative worlds today. Her introduction effectively contextualizes Flatland as reflecting mathematical innovations, progressive hermeneutics, spiritualism, social institutions, and national identity in nineteenth-century England. The meticulously compiled appendices are invaluable for providing contemporaneous responses and intellectual alternatives to, as well as appropriations of, Abbott’s genre-defying work. Harper has made an outstanding, multidimensional contribution to Flatland scholarship.” — K. G. Valente, Colgate University

Bill Wood The Mathematical Association of America
"Part mathematical exploration, part satire, and part fairy tale, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot has been around for more than a century and remains a standard in mathematics education...The Broadview Edition of the book combines the text with a variety of notes and essays that enhance the reading and study of this classic."
Bruce Clarke Texas Tech University
"Handing its reader the full range of Abbott's cultural sources and pedagogical motives in one volume, Lila Marz Harper's edition of Flatland is a welcome event. Her detailed introduction provides a comprehensive overview of Flatland's intellectual landscape and a generous sampling of current critical discussion. The content of the appendices is well chosen; especially useful is the lengthy selection from Jowett's translation of Plato's allegory of the Cave. Placing Abbott's perennial mathematical parable and curious social critique squarely into its Victorian contexts, Harper also traces Flatland's deep philosophical roots and spiritual aspirations."
K.G. Valente Colgate University
"Among the most enduring works of Victorian fiction, Flatland justly continues to attract both popular and scholarly attention. Lila Marz Harper's richly annotated edition rewards readers by illuminating a variety of perspectives that can be profitably adopted when exploring Abbott's imaginative worlds today. Her introduction effectively contextualizes Flatland as reflecting mathematical innovations, progressive hermeneutics, spiritualism, social institutions, and national identity in nineteenth-century England. The meticulously compiled appendices are invaluable for providing contemporaneous responses and intellectual alternatives to, as well as appropriations of, Abbott's genre-defying work. Harper has made an outstanding, multidimensional contribution to Flatland scholarship."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940000856321
Publisher:
B&R Samizdat Express
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
103 KB

Meet the Author

Lila Marz Harper is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Central Washington University.

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Flatland 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 126 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, don't buy it though. You can get it for free in public domain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend this as required reading for any geometry student and/or anyone who has ever given the slightest thought to dimensions other than our lovely 3rd dimension.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is going to be really corny, but it's true. This book influenced my decision to pursue mathematics and science as a career. Parts of it are a little dry, but these are the social commentary sections. I credit the rest of this book with equipping me to visualize higher dimensions. Definitely worth a read.
Kim_Duppy More than 1 year ago
My friends in the literature department will tell you that this is a clever novel about Victorian England. If that's all it were, I couldn't recommend it to anyone. In point of fact, this book is a kind of bare bones look at culture itself (not merely Victorian Culture). By reducing everything to shapes, the author manages to show how cultures evolve—or perhaps better put: how nature influences the development of culture. Plus, if you don't know much about geometry (I don't), you may learn a little about that as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This must be the best book I have read in years! It helped me understand mathematically and logically understand other dimensions as well as our own. This book will give you a glimpse of what living in a two dimensional world might look like, and also an Idea of what the fourth dimension might have in store in a logical manner. It also has a fantastic story and description of a two-dimensional culture, government and relationships. I strongly recommend it for geometry or advanced algebra students or anybody who wants a better understanding of multiple dimensions!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent choice for future math teachers. I am a junior in college getting my BA in Middle Level Math Education. This is an excellent book that will help understand demensions beyond our own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've recommended this book to my students of Geometry, especially those who will be teachers. This is a delightful guide to the understanding dimensions beyond our own. Must be cautioned that it does seem sexist - maybe a reflection of the time it was written.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Edwin A. Abbott wrote the "FLATLAND: A Romance of Many Dimensions" in 1884. He created a fictional world called Flatland for readers and introduced this two-dimensional world by depicting a journey of Mr. Square. Abbott used picturesque language, vigorous examples and his fabulous logical thinking to lead readers to enter the world he made. In this magic world, the Flatland is filled with Points, Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Polygons, and Circles. The Law of Nature in Flatland is different from the three-dimension world that readers live in, and women in Flatland are compared to needles. The narrator of this book is A. Square. He is a humorous and wise square. The society he lives in always emphasizes the social hierarchy, and the mind of government is narrow. After visiting Spaceland, where is also called three-dimension world, with a sphere, Mr. Square finally unhesitatingly believed there is a real world, which is not allowed by the government. He even thinks there are maybe more dimensions in the universe, which just are still not realized by people.  Many people discussed why Abbott wrote the "Flatland". Maybe he wanted to satirize the ugliness of government and society at that time by using an imaginary world, or maybe he wanted to eulogize the people who tried to break through hardship for revealing deeper cognitive about the world, we do not know. However, no matter what his purpose was, the book was regarded as the first book which presented the idea of a multi-dimensional world and discussed the relationship between every dimension scientifically. It is totally worthy to be read by people because in this childlike world, people not only can enjoy traveling the creative and amusing two-dimension world with the narrator, but also can learn many things, like what the society is look like in the late 19th century. Go read it! I bet you will get more fun!    --- By May 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really fun nerdy read. The narrators formal tone is a easy to adapt to snd its written to the reader. Nice quick read and fun world to envision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typing errors are frequent but not hard to understand, and the story is definitely worth it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great! if flatland was real, i would gladly live there
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was easily the most entertaining math text I have read so far! I would recommend this text to anyone inrerested at all in reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago