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Flatland

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  37,840 Ratings  ·  2,760 Reviews
With wry humor & penetrating satire, Flatland takes us on a mind-expanding journey into a different world to give us a new vision of our own. A. Square, a slightly befuddled narrator, is born into a place which is limited to two dimensions--irrevocably flat--& peopled by a hierarchy of geometrical forms. In a Gulliver-like tour of his bizarre homeland, A. Square sp ...more
Published (first published 1884)
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Stephen
Take a classically styled, 19th century satire about Victorian social mores…dress it up in dimensional geometry involving anthropomorphized shapes (e.g., lines, squares, cubes, etc.)…bathe it in the sweet, scented waters of social commentary…and wrap it all around humble, open-minded Square as protagonist.

The result is Flatland, a unique “classic” parked at the intersection of a number of different genres, thus pinging the radar of a wider than normal audience to appreciate (or detest) it. Sinc
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Robert
Oct 26, 2007 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you read this book, keep two things in mind. First, it was written back in 1880, when relativity had not yet been invented, when quantum theory was not yet discovered, when only a handful of mathematicians had the courage (yet) to challenge Euclid and imagine curved space geometries and geometries with infinite dimensionality. As such, it is an absolutely brilliant work of speculative mathematics deftly hidden in a peculiar but strangely amusing social satire.

Second, its point, even about i
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Fino
Mar 23, 2017 Fino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A curious little novella about a man a two-dimensional world thinking literally out of the box. First he explains his world in which the angles you have the higher social status you have in Flatland - Circles being the highest rank. He meets someone from Lineland (one-dimensional) who is incapable of understanding Flatland and he meets Sphere from Spaceland (three dimenions) and he is able himself to comprehend the difference between "up" and "North". However, Sphere cannot extrapolate to 4+ dim ...more
Dan
Jan 02, 2009 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should not be read in hopes of finding an entertaining story. As a novel, it's terrible. It's plot (if you can call it that) is simple and contrived. But, it wasn't written as a novel.

Flatland is a mathematical essay, meant to explain a point: that higher dimensions (more than length, depth and width) may be present in our universe, but if they are, it will be nearly impossible for us to understand them.

The story itself consists of a two dimensional world (Flatland), in which there are
...more
Kinga
Jul 10, 2012 Kinga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one crazy, opium fuelled, brilliant book about geometry and different dimensions and I am going to explain it the best way I can but Edwin A Abbott does it so much better.

Here is a story of Square who is a square and lives in a two dimensional world of geometrical figures. The first part of the book talks about the social breakdown of the Flatland and it is a thinly disguised satire on the Victorian society. People are divided into classes according to their geometry and the worst off a
...more
Becky
Mar 23, 2010 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misogynistic insomniacs
My boyfriend asked me to get this book out of the library for him, because he had read it back in school and wanted to re-read it. So, I did. He's like the world's slowest paper book reader, though, so the book has been sitting on the coffee table for days and days, and I admit that my curiosity got the better of me, and I picked it up to read.

Hmph. I am not a mathematician, nor am I an idiot. I fall somewhere between, although I pride myself on being able to understand general concepts of thin
...more
Nandakishore Varma
At the outset... the 5 stars are entirely subjective. I love maths, I love playing mathematical games, I love philosophising about maths. So this book is perfect for me. But if maths is not your cup of tea, you may not enjoy it as much as I did.

I first read about this book in one of Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" anthologies, and was enthralled by the concept. (In fact, he discusses two books: Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot and An Episode of Flatland by Charles Hinton written with the same pr
...more
Luana
Nov 03, 2011 Luana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libricino è talmente matto e bello che dovete andare a comprarlo, e siccome so che le mie maniere dispotiche, e poco convincenti (purtroppo non ho le doti dei venditori di cose inutili che riescono a farti comprare di tutti convincendoti che siano utili)forse non vi indurranno all'acquisto, armatevi di convincitudine vostra, e andate a comprarvelo, o a rubarlo, o a prenderlo in prestito dalla biblioteca.
Perché? Leggete quanto segue


Se come me siete sempre stati delle perfette schiappe i
...more
Julie Demar
Oct 06, 2016 Julie Demar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un racconto fantastico a più dimensioni con una velata (neanche poi troppo) critica alla chiusura mentale. Geniale.
Mark
Oct 08, 2016 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of Flatland is just that - a two dimensional flatland. As described early in the book, place a coin on a bench and look at the side from a distance. The coin will appear as just a line as does the view of everything in Flatland.

Written in the late 1800's by a school head master and maths and science teacher, this book feels more of a vessel for him to prove his superior intelligence through the grasp of these geometric concepts than an actual entertaining read.

The book is narrated to
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Roy Lotz
For why should you praise, for example, the integrity of a Square who faithfully defends the interests of his client, when you ought in reality rather to admire the exact precision of his right angles? Or again, why blame a lying Isosceles, when you ought rather to deplore the incurable inequality of his sides?

This is one of those delightful little books, so difficult to review because its charms require no toil to appreciate, and also because the book is so short you might as well read it an
...more
Jafar
Mar 16, 2011 Jafar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just brilliant. Written by a British mathematician in 1881, it’s a short fantasy novel about life in two dimensions. People in this book live in a two-dimensional world. They're not aware of, or can't even imagine, the third dimension. They have simple geometrical shapes like triangles and squares and other polygons. The higher the number of the sides, the higher the individual is in the social hierarchy. Those who have so many sides that they resemble a circle are priests. The land ...more
Milica Chotra
Jul 28, 2012 Milica Chotra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Flatland" is a mathematical satire and religious allegory, written in the shape of the memoirs of A Square, an inhabitant of a two-dimensional world, who had visited other lands - Pointland, Lineland and Spaceland - and gained invaluable insights into the structure of the Universe. Though these journeys and dreams/visions sound like a religious experience (and Edwin Abbott himself was a theologian), the main goal of "Flatland" - to make us think outside the observable world and imagine new dime ...more
Debbie Zapata
Mar 18, 2016 Debbie Zapata rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
I should not have tried to read this book. I do not have a mathematical imagination. I only read it (okay, tried to read it) because GR friend Jaksen suggested it as a companion piece to a short science fiction story I recently read titled The 4-D Doodler. I liked the idea, and the blurb made the book sound clever.

But there were diagrams! And geometry talk! And I felt like I was back in math class falling far far behind. I will probably be one of the few readers who enjoyed the first section of
...more
Harry Whitewolf
Don't be a square - read this book by A. Square; the author of this tale who describes the worlds of Pointland, Lineland, Flatland and Spaceland and the idea of other lands which mathematically and logically lie beyond the latter. This book has just joined the ranks of my all time favourite classics of original genius, such as Micromegas, The Little Prince and Ways of Seeing. In fact, this book's better than those three combined. Simply brilliant.
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Flatland' is amazing. Dimensions are the point of the tale. And the line, the square and the solid cube. (Sorry about being so oblique, but I often angle for a laugh at the beginning of a review, no matter how circuitous.)

The author Edwin Abbott Abbott with a wink and a smile introduces us to the science of geometry in the Victorian Age in this (a)cute story about A. Square. To understand the concepts that these surprisingly charming fantasy characters who live in a two-dimensional world illust
...more
Kyle
Aug 27, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The quintessential thinking person's book. This book has inspired physicists, philosophers, and others for generations and has had a profound impact on the modern human intellect. Even with all the wonderful and hilarious satire regarding Victorian society aside, few literary works manage to pack as much punch into so small a package as Flatland.
Additionally, it's tremendously accessible and easy to understand for someone who may not know what the book is about to begin with.

So grab a relaxin
...more
Nojoud
May 25, 2016 Nojoud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5*
في البداية أنتم أمام كنز! .. درست في كليتي ( الهندسة المعلوماتية - الذكاء الصنعي ) في السنة الرابعة .. مادة الحقائق الإفتراضية Virtual Reality
تعلمنا فيها من الصفر .. ماذا تعني النقطة .. الشعاع .. المستقيم .. القطعة المستقيمة .. المستوي .. وهكذا وصولا للأجسام ثلاثية الأبعاد ..
أخذنا بالطريقة الرياضية ما معنى يمين يسار .. .. داخل خارج .. وما فائدة كل ذلك في بناء واقع إفتراضي .. !
لكن ببساطة... هذا الرواية كانت أروع، أدهش، أجمل، أثبت في الذهن في إيصال كل ذلك.. بعيداً عن أي من العلاقات الرياضية
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Abu Hasan
Feb 29, 2012 Abu Hasan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أعطيت الرواية 4 نجمات، مع تفهمي لمن يقرأها ولا يعطيها أكثر من نجمة أو نجمتين
سأحاول التحدث عنها باختصار دون إحراق أحداثها على من يرغب بقراءتها
فكرة الرواية برأيي عبقرية، فهي تتحدث عن عالم مسطح، عالم من بُعدين اثنين فقط، تعيش فيه أشكال هندسية: مثلثات ومربعات ومسدسات،...
الرواية تأتي على شكل مذكرات لأحد الأشكال هندسية من سكان هذا العالم، يتحدث فيه عن يوميات حياتهم في عالمهم الثنائي الأبعاد، حيث تبدو مختلف الأشكال لمن يعيش في هذا العالم على هيئة خطوط، فيعرض كيف يتعرفون على بعضهم البعض، وطبقات المجتمع،
...more
X
Nov 29, 2007 X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary mathematicians or anyone who wants to ponder the existence of higher dimensions
Recommended to X by: Kathryn
"Flatland" begins by explaining the physical and social structure of Flatland, a two-dimensional world where social status is dependent on the number of angles a figure possesses. The greater the angle and consequently the greater number of sides, the greater the status. Flatland is a surprisingly brutal world, where figures are either incarcerated or executed - depending on their social status - for being irregular or for having knowledge that the ruling class does not want them to know.
The
...more
Mohammad Ali
تخیل نویسنده در ساختن و گزینش جهانی دوبعدی و نمایش محدودیت بشری در مقایسه ی این جهان با جهان سه بعدی ما، تحسین برانگیز است. همچنین نمودهای الهیاتی این اثر نیز جای تأمل دارد

گاهی ما در جهان های تخیلی با تناظر تک تک امور با جهان واقعی روبروئیم؛ در این حالت گویی هر موجودی در جهان تخیلی نماد امری در جهان واقعی است. اما در حالت دیگر ما نه با تناظر یک به یک هویات بلکه با تناظر نسبت ها روبروئیم، در این حالت هر شخصیت یا هر رویداد متناظر با یک رویداد یا شخصیت خاص در جهان واقعی نیست، بلکه کلیت داستان و نسب
...more
Stela
Dec 24, 2012 Stela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, victorian-era, reviews
I first read about this novella in a book of Mircea Eliade (“The Art of Dying”, I think) and although I found the idea very ingenuous, I couldn’t imagine it developed in a long work without becoming sort of – boring.
Surprisingly, it was not at all like that. The narrator, a Square, having had the revelation of “Many Dimensions” divides his “romance” in two parts: his world and other worlds, visited or imagined. The perspective is one of a two-dimensional character whose goal is not only to expl
...more
Robert Beveridge
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, th ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 31, 2008 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Diggers
Shelves: sciences
The Diggers were an egalitarian, communistic movement in seventeenth century England, the bane of Roundheads and Royalists alike. Grinnell College had its own Diggers who, among other things, maintained a free store in what had once been the cloakroom downstairs in Loose Hall, my dorm. Among the discarded clothing, records, tapes and furniture there I found this edition of Abbott's Flatland, a book I'd heard good things about.

The reading of it took a couple of hours--time well spent as the story
...more
Rand
Sep 30, 2012 Rand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RECENT SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS supporting the string theory of Juan Maldacena also support the existence of Flatland: The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

(follow link to read about the two papers which provide computational back-up for string theory)

Abbott's book was adapted to CGI film in 2007. Rudy Rucker called it "t
...more
Jori Richardson
I ventured into reading this book a bit nervously. I love a good satire, and I love books written in the 1800's, but wasn't sure what to expect from this one in particular.
After all... A novel about - math?
However, I was pleasantly surprised. No, more than that. I was absolutely blown away. I couldn't take my eyes off the pages!
Flatland is one of those novels that isn't actually a novel. Much like "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" or "The Silmarillion," it factually and sensibly creates an
...more
Laura
Aug 20, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was dubious starting this, as it's written in a high Victorian style that can be a bit of a slog, and the introduction, which is mercifully short, did not exactly make my heart leap up like an eagle at the thought of continuing. But once I got into the book proper, it turned out to be a delight on a lot of levels -- for example, as a satire of stratified Victorian society (and our own, too); as a commentary on the dangers of bucking conventional wisdom; and on the difficulty of pushing our min ...more
Mike
Sep 12, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a remarkable little book. Little only in the size of the pages and the conciseness of it. Otherwise it is a book large in concept, imagination, and execution.

Even if you are not naturally interested in mathematics or geometry this is a book that draws you in. The writing is excellent and the technique reminds me (a bit) of "The Little Prince". Both send a powerful message and do so very gently and subtly.

Read it for enjoyment if not knowledge. I think you'll like it. And, if you happen t
...more
Laith H
Mar 07, 2015 Laith H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
وتعلم من ذلك
درسًا: إن الرضا عن الذات مرادف للانحطاط والجهل، وطموح المرء خير له من قناعة
«. زائفة تعمي عينيه وتغُل يديه
Miriam
Jul 06, 2011 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, reminded me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Great insight into True Believers, also, and how people react when their worldview is challenged. Poor little square that lives in a two-dimensional world has an experience in the third dimension, sees the truth of our natures, and is unable to relay his experiences to his fellow two-dimensional inhabitants, because the third dimension is not visible, can only be inferred. Ultimately he is unsuccessful and imprisoned for knowing the truth ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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  • A History of π
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From Biography Base:

Edwin Abbott Abbott (December 20, 1838 - 1926), English schoolmaster and theologian, is best known as the author of the mathematical satire Flatland (1884).

He was educated at the City of London School and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he took the highest honours in classics, mathematics and theology, and became fellow of his college. In 1862 he took orders. After holdi
...more
More about Edwin A. Abbott...

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“...learn this lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy..” 43 likes
“Upward, not Northward” 34 likes
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