- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Perseus Books; Annotated edition edition (15 Nov. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738205419
- ISBN-13: 978-0738205410
- Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 19.7 x 2.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,158,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Annotated Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Hardcover – 15 Nov 2001
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"Stewart... is renowned for his popular science books, but Why Beauty is Truth is without a doubt the finest." Nature "Stewart, long a class act in popular maths, does not shy from presenting equations, illuminating them with imagistic explanations and sympathetic character sketches of heroes past and present." Guardian "I resorted to hiding (Why Beauty is Truth) from other members of the family until I'd finished and am confident that those on the 'waiting list' will not be disappointed. Inspirational." TLS"
About the Author
Ian Stewart is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and Director of its Mathematics Awareness Centre. His many books include Why Beauty Is Truth, Nature’s Numbers, Does God Play Dice? , and Letters to a Young Mathematician. He lives in Warwick, England.
Top Customer Reviews
However as Abbott's age and background are firmly rooted in the latter half of the 19th century, it would be thought that the finer nuances alluded to by the author would pass into obscurity. Here, the ingenuity of Ian Stewart comes to the fore. Prof Stewart refreshes Abbott's text with his annotations, detailing every minuscule reference that Abbott makes in his 19th century world. The result is an informed invigoration of a classic and opens more paths to inspiration in diverse disciplines such as theology and partical physics.
The book does require at least two readings; once for the story itself to bring alive the narrative of A Square, the second to fit in the background provided by Stewart around the story. One could almost say that Stewart uses a fourth dimension of time to expand a three dimensional tale that belongs in more dimensions.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The purpose of this novel is two-fold: to introduce the casual reader into the concepts of multi-dimensional spaces (i.e. what will become the concept of four dimensional space-time) and to provide social commentary on Victorian society. I cannot comment much on what he achieves in terms of opening the eyes of the Victorian reader to the ills of that society; however, I find his ability to illuminate the concepts of dimensionality extra-ordinary. As a math and physics teacher, I am always looking for ways to open my students' minds to visualizing what they are doing. Even after well over 100 years, few people have approached Abbott's clarity in helping people visualize the difference between different dimensions. One of the best examples: a square only "looks" like a square to someone who can see in three dimensions. A square itself, trapped in a plane, would see another square (or, indeed, any figure) only as a line. This leads to intriguing thoughts on what creatures who live in higher dimensions than our own see as they look at us.
Of course, the story of Flatland alone is wonderful but Stewart's annotation and commentary take the book to another level. On nearly every page, Stewart offers insight and background into the text. Unable to resist the pun: he added another dimension to the book. Having read Flatland many years ago and enjoyed it, I felt I understood the book much better this time around with Stewart's help. Anyone with an interest in math and physics should not pass up the opportunity to read this edition of Flatland.
Although not as frequently read, Flatland, the Edwin Abbott Abbott story of a little square coming to understanding that higher dimensions do indeed exist outside his world is a delightful read. For those seeking to understand what life is like in other dimensions, Flatland is very comprehensible with clear writing and simple, easy to understand illustrations that help drive home Abbott's points.
Originally written with many sly references to the then existing state of British culture, Abbott's invitation to try and understand higher dimensions was also an invitation to society of his time to try to re think its views on a myriad of issues...including its openness to women in education.
In this way, Abbott converted viewing higher dimensions into both a mathematical and social challenge...points Stewart was sensitive to in his annotations and his own homage, Flatterland.
Although other editions of this work exist, the annotated Flatland is the one to buy both because of its faithful reproduction of the original and its thought provoking and helpful footnotes that give the work broader meaning.