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42 Reviews
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go on... ...give it a go...
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...
Published on 10 Jan 2005

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible edition
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...
Published 11 months ago by Mr James Thomson


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible edition, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Flatland (Paperback)
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 "sebuteo" (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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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. On one level (which of Abbot's levels this might correspond to I can't be sure) this can be read as a Victorian appeal to retain a religious sense of 'our place' in 'creation', alongside a simultaneous appeal to our potential faith in the unseen 'spiritual' dimension. But on another, and to my mind deeper (or more 'dimensional') level, it's also a thought experiment concerning how humans are stuck in the matrix of their own physical/mental modes of perception, and that's an exciting area for thought. Some may read this in the modern parlance of 'n-dimensional' terminology, and think of quantum worlds, whilst others may be draw more towards the cognitive/conceptual aspects of these ideas.

There's a point in the book (the pun's unavoidable), where the Sphere shows the Square a view of Pointland, where there are no dimensions, in which a single consciousness buzzes continuously to itself: able only to perceive itself, all else is merely an aspect of it's self. The square and the sphere are horrified by the introspective solipsism of the point, the Sphere sternly declaiming, somewhat contradictorily: "Behold yon miserable creature... mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn this lesson... to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant... to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy". This passage puts aspirations to contentment, which most if not all of us no doubt pursue much of our lives, however ineffectually, in an interesting light.

A very short but stimulating and pleasurable read, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flatland, 22 Feb 2012
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of a book, 21 Feb 2012
This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
Flatland is a short, clever story that with great efficiency manages to teach some geometry, critique social values (of the period) and entertain all at once.

It is the descriptions of how the various dimensions appear to the others that I found to be really effective. Not just geometrically but also how lower dimensions are interpreted by individuals in higher ones and the other way round too.

The way beings of different dimensions appear to one another, as being superior or inferior, is reflected in the way the society of the 2 dimensional flatland is organised, with those beings having more sides being higher up in society than those with less.

Women get a raw deal, being mere lines, but i saw this as a rather clever consicous effort to create a satire on the way women were seen in society at the time of the book, rather than simply reflecting it.

Finally the fear of the unknown and the covering up of discovered facts by those in power is touched on and is as relevant now as ever.

Overall it is certainly worth reading and packs a lot into a short read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 22 Nov 2011
This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
Loved this book. Amazingly unique idea, combining geometry, political satire and reflecting on the human condition. The most heroic attempt to help conceptualize different numbers of dimensions I have ever seen.

I was only sad that the square didn't fall in love with the sphere. That would have absolutely made it for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Supreme guide to Flatland, 3 April 2011
This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flatland, 23 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
An excellent price for a famous, slim-volume, story about a single dimensional world. Must have required a really strange insight at the time of writing. An interesting, fascinating, thought provoking work. Does not require any specialist knowledge just a willingness to think a bit as you read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Only Fiction Erdös Ever Read?, 4 Feb 2001
This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
Flatland has a story that can be enjoyed on a number of levels; like Animal Farm, one can read this book being completely ignorant of the subtext - this, an acerbic commentary on Victorian Britain - and yet be engrossed by the story. A comical tale, originally written under the pseudonym A. Square, the book deals with some quite profound concepts.
This book was recommended to me by my Maths teacher when I was sixteen. I tried it and found it rather uninviting; I didn't enjoy Abbott's style. Now, two years on, I have come back to it after reading a book on Paul Erdös - The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. It is said that this was the only fiction Erdös ever read; for this reason, I decided to have another go. I am certainly glad I did! However, I would agree with our friend from San Jose, you do need to be in the right mood to read Flatland.
I would definitely recommend Flatland (I purchased the Dover version, which does not feature the "sequel"), although I do not claim it will change your life. It's interesting, and is one of those books that everyone must read at some point... this book makes an excellent present for your friend, or a nice book to tag onto your other orders.
One final thought, I am concerned that this story is been construed as an analogy for the life of Jesus, comparing him to A Sphere - surely this would make Jesus completely pointless...
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2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat tedious and only for boffins interested in historical reworking of scientific theorums., 21 Feb 2014
By 
Stuart King "BoyRacerLondon" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
It seems a very long time ago since I purchased this product and to be honest I cannot say that it has stayed in the memory especially, but I don't recall any issues with it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars noce book, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) (Paperback)
a bit difficult to read
Go to hell amazon with the stupid minimum word limit system that just makes reviewers angry that they cant say just what they want, lets fight against this by always mentioning it in reviews
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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift)
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift) by Edwin A. Abbott (Paperback - 14 Dec 1992)
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