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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions [Paperback]

Edwin A. Abbott
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 3.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2005 1420925741 978-1420925746
"Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" is one of the most original pieces of fiction ever written. With the use of a geometric theme, Edwin Abbott weaves the fascinating tale of "A Square" an inhabitant of "Flatland" who journeys to Spaceland, Lineland, and Pointland. Flatland is a witty and satirical adventure that explores the very nature of physical reality.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Digireads.com (1 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420925741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420925746
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.6 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,261,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"One of the most imaginative, delightful and, yes, touching works of mathematics, this slender 1884 book purports to be the memoir of A. Square, a citizen of an entirely two-dimensional world."--The Washington Post Book World

"Flatland has remained of interest for over a century precisely because of its ability to engage its readers on so many different planes in so many different dimensions."--Victorian Studies

"This reprint of Abbott's Flatland adventures contains an Introduction by Thomas Banchoff which is worth reading on its own. So if you don't have yet this book at home, go ahead and buy this edition."--Zentralblatt MATH --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 29 April 2008
By Melmoth
Format:Paperback
Written over 100 years ago and narrated by the solid A Square, Flatland is a brilliant fantasy about a life in a two-dimensional world at the same time as a witty satire on the Victorian view of an ordered society and a call for a wider view of life. As well as a tour of Flatland, complete with its perfect and revered circles, noble polygons and criminal isosceles triangles (not to mention the foolishly linear women) , Mr Square also guides us on his excursions into lineland and pointland before admitting the revelation vouchsafed to him on his journey into the world of three dimensions. As Mr Square himself puts it "I exist in hope that these memoirs ... may find their way to the minds of humanity in Some Dimension, and may stir up a race of rebels who shall refuse to be confined to limited Dimensionality"
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible edition 8 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This edition is printed to order and is quite frankly not worth the paper it is printed on. The text is in the public domain, and a free PDF that you print off at work is likely to be of better quality than this. The cover image is a horribly stretched and pixelated low resolution image. There is no printing on the spine. You will not want this cheap and nasty item messing up your bookshelf! Straight in the bin. Amazon need to make clear which items are professionally published, and which are amateurishly laser printed garbage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra-dimensional 2 Aug 2010
By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I came to this odd little gem via Carl Sagan's Cosmos (Cosmos [DVD] [1980). Sagan uses an apple - gleefully slicing and printing, rather poorly, circular sections with it - to illustrate Abbot's ideas on how one might begin to think extra-dimensionally.

A clergyman and teacher, Abbot's work is a both a gentle satire on the society of the time, and a philosophical/religious parable. Not being religious I was worried I might be subjected to some kind of intellectual contortionist act akin to that of Philip Gosse's Omphalos. But Abbot's ideas tap far deeper roots than would either a mere allegory of Christian religion (cf. C. S. Lewis' Narnia series), or even a pithy social critique. For my money it's as a philosophical nugget that this tiny but beguiling book punches well above its apparent weight, reminding us - like Hume's 'Dialogue & History of Natural Religion' (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and The Natural History of Religion (Oxford World's Classics)) that - if we take ourselves as the measure of everything, we're likely to severely miscalculate in many important areas. I'm not sure what Abbott would make of my reading of his work, but I find it stimulates my mind rather towards scientific paradigm shifts, like the cosmological re-orderings of Copernicus and Galileo, or Darwin's fundamental rewriting of the history of life on earth, than religious ones.

It's tricky territory, and, rather like the pervasive fogs that fill Flatland, it can be hard to keep the bigger philosophical ideas that lurk here in focus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flatland 22 Feb 2012
By Tom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, what an interesting concept. Whilst the book is clearly one giant metaphor for Victorian society and the associated scientific, moral, and religious undertones at the time (as well as the predisposition of the author) it's about as subtle as the proverbial sledgehammer. Women as lines, intolerance of 'irregular' shapes, the suppression of artistic individuality (represented by colour): it hardly requires a degree in English literature to peel away the layers here. It's probably more like a long allegorical essay as opposed to what would have, quite frankly, been a fairly dull short social commentary.

That said, it does work on a number of levels (no pun intended) and can be read as a piece of escapist literature. The introduction in the Oxford World's Classics version provides support for those who want a little more, but the joy of a book that lives (predominately) in two dimensions is the simplicity with which things must naturally exist. For me personally it was the way in which this book makes you think. I enjoy popular science books, I enjoy reading about String Theory, I enjoy the possibility of other universes or dimensions. I don't think it's giving a lot away to say that the manner in which the third dimension is introduced to a world in which the occupants know no more than two dimensions (and cannot comprehend of moving "upward, and yet not northward") does make one think about how easy it would be for there to be a fourth spatial dimension that we know nothing about. Think about it... Superstring Theory mathematically postulates ten dimensions... could they exist? Where are they? This book asks a question that could have been centuries ahead of its time; and makes you think as much as you are prepared to think.
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