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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Paperback – Sep 21 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1 edition (Sept. 21 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048627263X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486272634
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.2 x 0.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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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 TOP 1000 REVIEWER 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 M. Abdul-Amir on Aug. 9 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you into geometry? Do you strictly not believe in the possibility of a metaphysical world? Are you looking for mind numbing possibilities? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then this book might serve you good.
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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 Verified Purchase
I loved that book. It reads fast, and the story is strange and original: a 2-dimensional world in which inhabitants are geometrical shapes.
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By Matt O'Rourke on Aug. 26 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, at the start I thought what is going on, but once I got a bit further into the book (so at about page 5) I didn't have a problem moving into the flatland world.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on Dec 24 2002
Format: Paperback
The fantastical setting of Edwin A. Abbott's "Flatland" is one of the most curious in literature: a two-dimensional world in which all the inhabitants are sentient flat shapes which slide around on a plane with no knowledge or conception of a third dimension. However, the book's theme -- the importance of unimpeded scientific inquiry and the danger of denying the possibilities of infinity in all its forms -- is treated with the didacticism of a tendentious theological tract, leaving the reader, who probably was already well aware of the book's implications long before he even heard of the book, gasping for breath.
We are introduced to the nature of Flatland by the narrator, a nameless Square, who describes his world as being populated primarily by regular polygons. A citizen's social and occupational status is in direct proportion to his number of sides, so those with so many sides that they approximate circles achieve the highest ranks. These circular elite are dubbed "priests" and rule Flatland apparently on a parliamentary model. At the other end of the spectrum are the Triangles, who constitute the working class. Even lower than the Triangles, however, are the simpleminded Lines -- and these are Flatland's women, useful only for procreation. It takes little imagination to guess what the irregular polygons represent.
The Square's purpose in writing this report is to rejoice in his discovery of the (previously unimagined) third dimension, revealed to him by a helpful Sphere who visits from Spaceland.
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