Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838–1926) was an English clergyman, schoolmaster, Shakespearean scholar, and theologian best known as the author of the 1884 satirical novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Written pseudonymously as “A Square,” the book used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to parody the puritanical hierarchy and rigid stratification of Victorian culture, especially the low status of women.
An underground favorite since its publication, inspiring many novel sequels and films, the story’s most enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions, which introduced aspects of relativity and hyperspace years before Einstein published his famous theories. An illuminating mathematical treatise, Flatland has experienced a revival in popularity, especially among sci-fi and cyberpunk fans, due to its sharp social satire and challenge to our most basic perceptions of everyday reality “that seems to have been written for today.”
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Table of Contents
Heathenry or: Concerning the text and its illustrations
Preface to the Second and Revised Edition, 1884.
PART ONE: this world.
1. Of the Nature of Flatland
2. Of the Climate and Houses in Flatland
3. Concerning the inhabitants of Flatland
4. Concerning the Women
5. Of our Methods of recognizing one another
6. Of Recognition by Sight
7. Concerning Irregular Figures
8. Of the Ancient Practice of Painting
9. Of the Universal Color Bill
10. Of the Suppression of the Chromatic Sedition
11. Concerning our Priests
12. Of the Doctrine of our Priests
PART TWO: other worlds.
13. How I had a Vision of Lineland
14. How I vainly tried to explain the Nature of Flatland
15. Concerning a Stranger from Spaceland
16. How the Stranger Vainly Endeavored to Reveal to me in Words the Mysteries of Spaceland
17. How the Sphere, having in vain tried words, resorted to deeds
18. How I came to Spaceland, and what I saw there
19. How, though the Sphere showed me other mysteries of Spaceland, I still desired more; and what came of it
20. How the Sphere encouraged me in a Vision
21. How I tried to teach the Theory of Three Dimensions to my Grandson, and with what success
22. How I then tried to diffuse the Theory of Three Dimensions by other means, and of the result