Fifty Years in the Flatland
2012 will mark the 50th anniversary in print with Dover of one of the most significant and influential books of the past century and a half. The mathematical, satirical, and religious allegory Flatland by a little-known but immensely prolific Victorian English schoolmaster and theologian Edwin Abbott Abbott, was first published anonymously in England in 1884 — Abbott wrote it under the name "A Square." The unique geometrical romance which is Flatland posited a world and its inhabitants that exist in only two dimensions and forces the reader captivated by the originality of this central idea to think deeply about the meaning of such a world. Generations of readers and students swept into the romance and fascination of geometry and other branches of mathematics and philosophy owe their introduction to this world to Flatland, which continues to entertain and stimulate new readers today, still going strong 126 years after the first edition was launched. Abbott revised the text somewhat for a second edition published just a few months after the first. Dover's 1952 edition was the first American reprinting of the amended second English edition and was published with a new Introduction by physicist Banesh Hoffmann.
From the Book:
"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. Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows — only hard and with luminous edges — and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said 'my universe': but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things."
A short read (~90 pages) and well worth it. I stayed up late to finish it the day I started and quite enjoyed it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rob Mills
I loved that book. It reads fast, and the story is strange and original: a 2-dimensional world in which inhabitants are geometrical shapes.Published 6 months ago by Nicolas Blackburn
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.Published 15 months ago by Matt O'Rourke
Are you into geometry? Do you strictly not believe in the possibility of a metaphysical world? Are you looking for mind numbing possibilities? Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2012 by M. Abdul-Amir
This may be the greatest science fiction story of all time. I have read this story at least ten times and I never tire of it. Read morePublished on May 5 2004
Sometimes you look at a book and shake your head. From what I've heard, they did that when this book came out in the late 19th century. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by Brian Connors
I just finished reading "Flatland" by Edwin A. Abbott and I'm not entirely sure what to think. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2004 by Kristin Lewis
Abbott's imagination is just fantastic. And I say fantastic in the most realistic sense. He has so many amazing ideas and makes everything so believable, but also makes you... Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2003 by Adam Sachs