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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: 1.1 x 10.8 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #638,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wesley L. Janssen on Oct. 10 2003
Format: Paperback
Do not miscast this wonderful little book as being merely "sci-fi". Two-dimensional "worlds" exist within ours, if only in a somewhat pragmatic sense. If we imagine some "thing" intellective within such a world, then we have little difficulty seeing that our humble narrator, Mr. A. Square, might be such a world's most insightful oddball. The book is a classic exposition in basic geometry, but it is more than this. Abbott uses mathematics to make some very telling observations about human minds and psychologies.
Edwin Abbott (1838-1926) was a clergyman and a math geek. He was an educator, an expositor of English literature and New Testament studies, a notable headmaster, and the author of something like 40 books on widely varied themes. Today you will probably have a difficult time finding any of his other volumes, but Flatland is said to have never been out of print since it was first published in 1884.
No need to retell A. Square's big adventures here, other than this bit of dialog between our two-dimensional thinker and his three-dimensional visitor/teacher (Square is given to thoughts of still higher-dimensional worlds):
"SPHERE. But where is this land of Four Dimensions?
[A. Square]. I know not: but doubtless my Teacher knows.
SPHERE. Not I. There is no such land. The very idea of it is utterly inconceivable."
Abbott offers his allegory of physical and conceptual limits with an economy of word and thought that is nothing less than extraordinary. A great many volumes, five to ten times as large, conclude having said far less than this little parable. Read it. You will take from it what you are willing to take. If you find little or nothing here, you are indeed a citizen of Flatland.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge on April 28 2000
Format: Paperback
Flatland is one of those pseudo-scientific novels that has since become a piece of the scientific canon in the same way that Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has; when attempting to explain theoretical physics to a class, and at a dead-end, a professor is most liekly to turn to an analogy from Flatland. Which makes sense. Flatland is the story of A. Square, a resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, and how he comes to understand that there are universes in every dimension. Previous to this, the idea of any universe but his own two-dimensional universe was unthinkable; by the end of the novel, he is positing the existence of a great, infinitely-dimensional being-- god. This is not surprising; Edwin Abbott was a theologist first and foremost. What is surprising is how modern eyes have seen this tale, and it gives us a perspective on the endless debate as to whether the author's belief about his story is the final and "right" one.
Abbott meant his book as a treatise on theoretical physics-- if at all-- in only a minor way. According to Abbott himself, his main goal in the writing of Flatland was to produce a kind of "satire of manners" on Victorian England. And, given what little I know of the ways of life in Victorian England, he seems to be right on the money. But what do I know? Abbott's assertion is backed up by the structure of the novel, certainly; the first hundred pages of this small (hundred fifty page) tome are devoted to the customs and mores of Flatland. How stinging a criticism they are of the values and mores of Victorian England is not for me to say.
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Format: Paperback
As opposed to my other orders which arrived in bulky boxes, which leaves space for the books to damage, this book and its companions arrived in a tightly bound package - something which i hope Amazon continues to employ.

The book itself is very intriguing, and despite only having read a couple of pages into it, it impresses me nonetheless.

Overall, good job guys!
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Format: Paperback
This book is a great piece of very clear, very convicting prose, using well-explained mathematical analogies for classism, sexism, and close-mindedness. I think it's a great analogy for people's willingness to accept paradoxes and the possibility of a spiritual realm. It was written by a minister, so that's not so much of a surprise. I highly recommend this book! The mathematics are simply and not intimidating. Mind-opening.
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Format: Paperback
(...). The obvious is that it is a math-ish book, just as any book written in English is also an English language book. To me, using an imaginary world of 2 dimensions and a journey into 0,1,3 dimensional worlds the author is revealing to us a potentailly new way in which to look at our own life, the universe etc. Its less a mathematical book and more a philosophical/spiritual book. The author's background should be an additional pointer towards this conclusion.
The message is that there is more to us and our life on earth than is commonly understood. That our perception of the universe need not limit it to just that in reality. The story itself is a highly interesting illustration of this fact using mathematical concepts. And the best part -- the author commendably stays away from actually expounding any theories or belief systems. For anyone interested in spirituality, this book will be mighty enjoyable.
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