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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Paperback – 1 Jun 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (1 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602062897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602062894
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,965,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Part mathematical exploration, part satire, and part fairy tale, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot has been around for more than a century and remains a standard in mathematics education...The Broadview Edition of the book combines the text with a variety of notes and essays that enhance the reading and study of this classic." - Bill Wood, The Mathematical Association of America

"Handing its reader the full range of Abbott's cultural sources and pedagogical motives in one volume, Lila Marz Harper's edition of Flatland is a welcome event. Her detailed introduction provides a comprehensive overview of Flatland's intellectual landscape and a generous sampling of current critical discussion. The content of the appendices is well chosen; especially useful is the lengthy selection from Jowett's translation of Plato's allegory of the Cave. Placing Abbott's perennial mathematical parable and curious social critique squarely into its Victorian contexts, Harper also traces Flatland's deep philosophical roots and spiritual aspirations." - Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University

"Among the most enduring works of Victorian fiction, Flatland justly continues to attract both popular and scholarly attention. Lila Marz Harper's richly annotated edition rewards readers by illuminating a variety of perspectives that can be profitably adopted when exploring Abbott's imaginative worlds today. Her introduction effectively contextualizes Flatland as reflecting mathematical innovations, progressive hermeneutics, spiritualism, social institutions, and national identity in nineteenth-century England. The meticulously compiled appendices are invaluable for providing contemporaneous responses and intellectual alternatives to, as well as appropriations of, Abbott's genre-defying work. Harper has made an outstanding, multidimensional contribution to Flatland scholarship." - K. G. Valente, Colgate University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

""Flatland" has and always will be a fun and fascinating journey, showing us again how the world of mathematics can expand the mind and take the imagination to places where it didn't know it could play."--Danica McKellar, actress and author of the best-selling "Math Doesn't Suck"

"A fascinating look behind the scenes of the best "Flatland" movie yet. Long live A Square!"--Rudy Rucker, author of "The Fourth Dimension" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
Flatland is THE must-read for anyone interested in getting a feel for higher dimensions. The book is extraordinarily readable and succeeds even with people that are afraid of mathematics. Abbott's charm lies in his ability to write simply and clearly about a topic that has its share of very unreachable, esoteric books. You fall into the story (whose plot is by no means secondary to the mathematical ideas), and before you know it you find yourself in contemplation of things like the fourth and fifth dimensions. The visual image that this book provides is a necessary step to envisioning and then understanding the idea of higher dimensions, even for those already versed in the mathematics of it. You never know, after you read this, you might even be willing to try your hand at things like Einstein's relativity. A little on the social aspects of the book: keep in mind that it was written in the very late 1800's. Hidden within the philosophical and mathematical ideas is a satire of the social climate of the times: how women, the military, the upper echelons of society, and just about everyone else were viewed. Flatland makes you think, and think deeply, on many different and sometimes unexpected levels.
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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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By Andrew on 18 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a compact, insightful and thought-provoking gem which can be appreciated from scientific, mathematical, historical and cultural standpoints. With string theory popularising the concept of higher dimensions today, it's an ideal starting point for those wanting to be able to consider some of the big questions that science is asking. Furthermore, this edition is everything you could want from an ebook. It's formatted perfectly, doesn't forgo the illustrations which are important in a book like this, and is at a fantastic price.
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By A Customer on 27 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
If you've ever tried to imagine a "fourth" (or even higher) dimension, this little gem is for you.
Square is an inhabitant of an infinite flat plane (hence the title of the book) whose inhabitants, flat shapes, are totally unaware of the existence of a third "upward" dimension completely different from their north-south and east-west ones. Sphere, from our world, views Flatlanders as ignorant, and tries to show Square the delights of higher dimensions, as well as showing him the "squalor" of his lower dimensional "lineland" and "pointland" cousins...
There is a delightful class system which ranks flatlanders according to how many sides they have (circles are regarded as the highest class of clergymen) but all women are straight lines, indicating the somewhat Victorian outlook of the author. Also interesting is Sphere's hypocritical reluctance to accept a fourth dimension, as Square refused to accept a third.
Charming and simple, this book really makes you think about the nature of space itself (not an easy task!)
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