Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

| March 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Here we have one of the most popular math books ever — “Flatland” by Edwin A. Abbott. The book was written back in 1884 and it’s a satirical novella, which uses symbolic language to depict the society of those days. It also analyses the nature of dimensions, which is the reason why it is still popular amongst mathematicians and physicists today.

Author: Edwin A Abbott

Paperback: 96 pages

Publisher: Dover Publications (1992)

ISBN-10: 048627263X

ISBN-13: 978-0486272634

Kindle edition: (US|UK)

Reviews: customer reviews

Rating: ★★★★ Ranking: 3,929
US Version UK Version

The author — Edwin A. Abbott — was an English schoolmaster and a theologian. He was educated in City of London school and later in St. John’s College, Cambridge where he received highest honours in classics, mathematics and theology. A few years after his education he became the headmaster of the City of London School. After retirement Abbott dedicated his time to theological pursuits and literacy. His other works include “St. Thomas of Canterbury, His Death and Miracles” and “Miscellanea Evangelica”

Abbott’s bestseller “Flatland”, which is still popular around the world after more than a century, is perhaps best described as mathematical fiction. It tells a story of a two-dimensional world putting emphasis on all aspects of dimensions and pondering the questions of reality and our perception of it. The great thing about flatland is that if you look a bit deeper you can find a deft mixture of social satire and a brilliant parody of the Victorian society. And most likely that is the reason why Flatland has become so popular and maintained its popularity for such a long time.

The book was released by Abbott under his pseudonym  A Square back in 1884 and featured only over 80 pages. However, despite the small number of pages, the book takes some time to read through, especially if one tries to tackle all the subtle hints of satire and criticism of the society of the Victoria era. The book depicts an exotic world, where a society of geometric shapes is established. In this bizarre society the inhabitants are judged according to their shape. The uniqueness of the book hides in the fact that the line between satire, criticism and mathematical curiosities in this book is very thin, which forms an interesting reading experience.

 

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