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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Mass Market Paperback – May 3 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (May 3 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451529766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451529763
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.3 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #217,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This pre-Einstein geometrical fantasy is one of the best things of its kind that has ever been written, for it is more than an ingeniously sustained fantasy: it is a social satire, with wit as sharp as the sub-lutrous end of a Flatland woman; it is aneasy philosophical introduction to the Fourth Dimension; and it is a rebuke to everyone who holds that there is no reality beyond what is perceptible by human senses. (Saturday Review)

This pre-Einstein geometrical fantasy is one of the best things of its kind that has ever been written, for it is more than an ingeniously sustained fantasy: it is a social satire, with wit as sharp as the sub-lutrous end of a Flatland woman; it is an easy philosophical introduction to the Fourth Dimension; and it is a rebuke to everyone who holds that there is no reality beyond what is perceptible by human senses. (Saturday Review) --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Edwin A. Abbott (1838–1926) has been ranked as one of the leading scholars and theologians of the Victorian era. He received highest honors in mathematics, classics, and theology at St. John's College, Cambridge, and in 1862 began a brilliant career, during which he served as schoolmaster of some of England's outstanding schools. At the same time he distinguished himself as a scholar, and in 1889 he retired to his studies. He is perhaps best known as the author of the mathematical satire and religious allegory Flatland. He also wrote Sphereland, Paradosis, and a number of nonfiction books, including English Lessons for English People, How to Write Clearly, and a biography of Francis Bacon. James Langton trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks, including the international bestseller The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud by Julia Navarro, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield, and The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. He is also a professional musician who led the internationally renowned Pasadena Roof Orchestra from 1996 to 2002. James was born in York, England, and is now based in New York City.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 5 2004
Format: Paperback
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In order to understand this twenty-two chapter book (first published in the mid-1880s) by Edwin A. Abbot (1838 to 1926), you have to understand what is meant by the word "dimension," a word in the book's subtitle "A Romance of Many Dimensions." A dimension is any measureable distance such as length or width. So something that has one dimension has only one measurable distance, something that has two dimensions has two measurable distances, and so on. You also have to realize that there are geometrical forms that can be drawn in these dimensions. Thus a line is such a form that only has one dimension, a triangle is such a form that has two dimensions that appears flat and non-solid, and a sphere is such a form in three dimensions that appears solid. (Another name for three dimensions is space.)
Part one (twelve chapters) of this book gives us a glimpse of the two-dimensional land where the narrator, Mr. "A. Square," comes from. This place, called "Flatland," is inhabitated by two-dimensional beings of which Square is one. These beings no nothing of "up" and "down." Square tells us details of Flatland society such as its resident's domestic life and its political turmoil. It is a place dominated by such things as a rigid social hierarchy, sexism, and closed-mindedness.
Abbot was a Victorian and his description of Flatland is meant to be a parody (using wry humor and biting satire) of English Victorian society. Abbot seems to have fun mocking the upper classes of the 1880s in his book. I found that much of what Abbot says can be applied to modern society.
As an example, Square tells us of the social hierarchy that exists: "Our women are straight lines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By glen cochrane on Jan. 6 2013
Format: Paperback
An odd book. This is the thought that dominated the back of my mind throughout the first half of the story. The second half really picks up and makes this a worthwhile read, and a strong teaching tool for people interested in physics and contemplating the ideas of other dimensions. It's quite an interesting book, one that's had a lasting impact, I think because of its ability to communicate a difficult idea for human to imagine.

I came across this book in a lecture about mathematics, as a suggestion to help listeners understand the idea of other dimensions. It was a great recommendation, as the book served this purpose. I've been studying physics on my own, casually, for a few years now, and this is the type of book that really helps me move along in my understanding. I'm not looking to learn everything, or become a physicist, but merely learn for interests sake and because much of the basics add to my understanding of life. In this respect, Flatland is a great read.

Parts of the book were difficult, not because they were hard, but they were a bit boring...maybe tedious concepts to grasp. Maybe it was the parts about societal standing that seemed to lack some, but several curious ideas rose out of this aspect to the story (one of which is the role of females and their similarity to higher status beings). I'm not sure in the language had anything to do with it, but it is possible. It's an easy read, but still a little removed from our own common use of English. The ending was powerful, however, and some of the concept explanations are very clear, and very easy to understand and potentially useful as review material. It's little wonder that this book has lasted so long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Murphy on Jan. 26 2009
Format: Paperback
I read the product description, and the book interested me. For 2.25, why wouldn't I purchase it? For a book that I wasn't expecting much from, it certainly suprised me. It was interesting learning about the world in which the flatlanders, and other dimensional beings lived. Although to me there were obviously flaws in some of the things the author said, it was generally really well done. I for one was impressed, and it certainly made me think about how possible other dimensions would behave and move around. I would reccomend buying it if you were thinking about it. Its cheap enough, just go for it!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book on a whim because it was so cheap, and I rather enjoyed it, despite it being a very short book. At the minute, it is circulating among my friends.
The first part deals with the social structure and mores of the flatland society. I've heard that it's a critique of the way life was set up when the book was written, but I can't confirm that. It describes a world where women are seen as worthless nobodies who are dangerous without really noticing, and where people are judged and placed in social classes based merely on their appearance (more specifically, how many sides they have).
The second part is why you should buy this book. It is the tale of what happens when one of the members of this two-dimensional society is taken and shown how life is lived in worlds of one, zero, and three dimensions. It is this part of the book which is absolutely fascinating, and convinced me that I will never be able to envision a fourth spatial dimension.
I highly recommend this book as a singular novelty, and a very good read.
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