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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Literary Classics) Paperback – 20 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (20 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591022967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591022961
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 0.7 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,028,285 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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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I urge you to read this insightful book. It's short and is very easy to read yet will give you a tangible way of contemplating further dimensions by reference to a society with only two (hence the title 'Flatland'). This [Dover Thrift Edition] could well be the best ever spend on a present for your head! The only negative for me is the book's portrayal of Women as straight lines with pointy ends(!), but you have to take into account that it was written by a Victorian Cleric and this part of the story presents an interesting aside in terms of a view of Victorian Society. Please don't get hung up on this point though - in every other way it is incredibly contemporary, accessible and stimulating to the mind. It is referenced by many leading popular science books and is superior to most (incredible considering its vintage). It certainly represents an essential addition to your bookshelf! I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MSU VINE VOICE on 16 May 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some science books make stuff seem complicated. Even more compliacted than it needs to be. This book, does not. This is an excellent example of a book being able to open your mind to wider possiblities by explaining stuff you already know about insticivly but have never put into words yourself. Although this book is not for the expert, it is ideal for someone just getting going or needing the chance to recap the basics.
It had me thinking for weeks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "talba" on 12 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
That better understanding comes from simplicity is well known. But this axiom is taken to new heights here!
On the one level this is a cool and very amusing exposee of dimensionality. But on another far more fascinating level, it is a brilliant critique of humanity - of society and its norms and rules. How ridiculous our behaviour must look to beings eyeing us from a 4th dimension!
This book is not just intelligent, it is also funny!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jan Janikovic on 8 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book and once you read it you'll try to count how many points, lives, squares and cubes would a hypercube (tesseract) consist of.

The book is very thin and it can be comfortably read in one day. In order to introduce the reader to 2D world, author starts to describe the society, rules and manners of that world. Between the lines he thus provide a small criticism on our human society vy showing some issues from other point of view. When a sphere comes to preach the word about new dimension to Square, who is the narrator of the story, Square has huge problems of visualizing the third dimension, until he sees it on his own eyes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By De_Nada72 on 22 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A. Square (!), trying to work out what it might be like as a cube, while we of 3 dimensions watch him and ultimately pine with him for even more dimensions. The author is clearly barmy, and a legend. And not only does it leave you in a happily confused state of mind, trying desperately to understand the nature of space, there's also some hilarious satire, and purely inspired explanations for how the whole thing would work. Although the style is sometimes difficult to follow, and it is a bit too short, Flatland is certainly worth a read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that took complex ideas and presented them well at a time when the science was not widely understood. Written as a satire on the victorian society where the author lived it still chalenges some of our modern prejudices.

Consider also reading Flatterland by Ian Stewart, which brings the ideas into a modern context
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I think the hundreds of reviews preceding this one sum up the book pretty well, so I won't recap it all here. I just wanted to point out that the reviewer who thought that Flatland was a religious allegory, with the Sphere as Jesus has defintely missed the point - Sphere is one of a line (no pun intended) of all too fallible and very much human characters who we meet in the book, illustrating one of its sharpest ironic points (I just can't help myself now).
The first is the Point, utterly convinced, in the teeth of all the evidence, of the non-existence of everything but itself. Then we meet (in a dream) the King of Lineland, who prefers to believe that the Square is a mutant woman, rather than believe in a two-dimensional space (I promise I'm not making this up). Then we have A. Square, our narrator, who has to be forced to accept the reality of three dimensions by being forcibly removed from Flatland.
And, almost at the end of the book, the Sphere, who, until now has seemed to represent enlightened wisdom, shows his own flaws, by reacting angrily and petulantly to the suggestion of fourth, fifth or higher dimensions.
The Sphere is definitely not meant to be divine - he's just as limited in vision as all the other characters. I hardly think that a clergyman would be so unflattering about Jesus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ManInsideTheHelm on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback
As the title suggests the book is a fairly good guide to a nonexistent land with some pretty cool characteristics. Flatland is basically an universe/world were only two dimensions are mensurable, whereas others (outsiders to Flatland) think the remaining dimensions are just too small to be measurable.

This thought was very revolutionary, at least in 1884, to think that there are dimensions too small to seen. In fact, some modern physics theories depend on that assumption.

This novel is dull on some moments because it is narrated by a Square (no, I didn't mistype), who is a modest gentleman. He begins with a "short" characterization of his world, just a few elements important to make a comparison with his dreams and/or experiences.

The Square dreams of a Lineland (two dimensional land) and that opens up his horizons. Then he goes to Spaceland (three dimensional land) and wonders if there are "higher" dimensions. Even a Pointland (unidimensional land) is portraited in the book.

When the Square goes back to his universe he tries to teach all the things that he as learned, but is unable and ends up in jail.

What I have just written is hardly a spoiler and if you read the book you get the sensation that everything which happens to our poor Square is just a fact, not important at all to the grand design of things.

The prose style is very expositive and the consequence is that every dialogue is like brainstorming and the narrative is filled with meanings that can't be missed.

A good book with a few flaws, but certainly worth the investment of time.

Till next time,
M.I.T.H. (ManInsideThehelm)
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