Plot[ edit ] Illustration of a simple house in Flatland. The story describes a two-dimensional world occupied by geometric figures, whereof women are simple line-segments, while men are polygons with various numbers of sides.
This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for literati. This is the classic example of mathematical fiction in which the author helps us to think about the meaning of "dimension" through fictional example: Many people do have trouble conceiving of higher dimensional geometry, and a reference to Flatland is now commonly used by people who are trying to help others understand this difficult concept.
It does seem to help people to imagine creatures living and thinking in a two-dimensional universe and to imagine how they would perceive the three-dimensional objects that are familiar to us.
So, people certainly use Flatland as a didactic work of mathematical fiction. However, I do not think Edwin Abbott Abbott was using math that way. It was not his goal to make the math more understandable and believable by including it in a story.
Quite the opposite, in fact. I think Abbott thought of math as something that people would already understand and wanted to use that math to discuss certain non-mathematical ideas that were important to him.
Moreover, he hoped that by using mathematics a topic most people agree uponhe would be able to generate some agreement in discussing something more controversial.
In particular, I think that what he really wanted to write about was not mathematics but the relationships between people and the relationship between people and the supernatural. This has changed his view of his reality, changed his view of his relationship with the other creatures of Flatland, and he wants to share that information.
Abbott was a theologian. And although some of his ideas seem to reflect an old fashioned bias to modern readers e. His view of the relationships between people was also rather introspective for Victorian England. Consequently, I believe that the role of mathematics in Flatland was to provide Abbott with a language the language of geometry through which he could discuss non-mathematical ideas with the readers that he otherwise could not quite put into words.
One difference between my professional area of expertise mathematics and my hobby literature is that there is much more agreement in the former than the latter.
This is one reason that people like to use mathematical language to discuss controversial non-mathematical topics. Do you think I'm right or am I completely missing the point? Please let me know your opinion on this question.
The book has been rereleased with annotations by Ian Stewart. Note that this book has inspired many direct sequels. Contributed by Anonymous Brilliant book but some details are lacking within Flatland's societal infrastructure.
Abbott, for example, describes the greeting process of flatlanders as "feeling" but his depictions of Flatland inhabitants are merely geometrical shapes with no appendages arms, legs with which to feel. Left out details such as this are distracting to the reader. Had Abbott addressed these issues, the book would have been more convincing and intriguing.
Contributed by Dave Luer My girlfreind is a geometry teacher in Jersey. We went to high school together and we both remember seeing the movie called "Flatland" and it was based on the book. The problem is, she hasn't been able to find a copy of it anywhere. Her birthday is coming up, and I'd really like to find it.
Any suggestions on where to look? Dave Perhaps you're thinking of the animated version made at Harvard University, featuring the voice of Dudley Moore and directed by Eric Martin?!?
At least, that's the only candidate I can think of. Believe it or not, that version is still for sale from the DER. Unfortunately, it's not cheap. But nobody ever said that romance would be, eh?
Abbott in a college philosophy class, in I fell in love with it. I am also a mathemetician. It inspired what has become to me a delightful investigation of higher dimensions. Contributed by Sonja Dezman Flatland is not comparable to anything else.
I think that every mathematician should read it. What bothered me was the position that women have in this story. They are presented as stupid, unable to learn and think, or make choices of their own.Book Review: Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott By Andrew Porterfield Finishing Flatland, a novella published by British mathematician and teacher Edwin Abbott a good 20 years before Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and the growth of quantum mechanics, leaves the reader wondering what Abbott could possibly have known about these later.
Additionally, I found her books to be fine, but not particularly thought-provoking beyond the first Hunger Games book and the view of Hollywood.
Authors with names in bold are worth reading anything by. Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott - Chapter 10, Of the Suppression of the Chromatic Condition summary and analysis.
Shadows of Reality: The Fourth Dimension in Relativity, Cubism, and Modern Thought (review) Amy Ione Leonardo, Volume 40, Number 3, June , pp. (Review). A. Square is a two-dimensional being living in a two-dimensional world called Flatland. He then describes the different social classes in Flatland, explaining that women are straight lines and men are figures with many sides.
"The central concept of the story is the doom of entropy. We humans live in a vastly larger and more complex Universe than do the machine-men (who, despite their confinement, have managed to construct a high civilization), but we are equally sentenced to ultimate death by entropy.