Flatland
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Flatland

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  24,180 ratings  ·  1,808 reviews
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 science fiction novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. As a satire, Flatland offered pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture.
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...more
rgb
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...more
Luana
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
Dan
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
Milica Chotra
"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
Jafar
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
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
Fewlas
Sentii parlare per la prima volta di questo romanzo durante un corso universitario sulle influenze della scienza sul romance vittoriano. Ma, siccome nelle storie della letteratura Flatlandia riceveva molta meno attenzione della più celebre Erewhon, non lo lessi. Me lo ha riportato alla memoria Sheldon di “The Big Bang Theory” un paio di anni fa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onD0-h...) e allora ho deciso di acquistarlo, per poi lasciarlo sullo scaffale un altro po’ di tempo fino a quando pochi...more
Kinga
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
X
Apr 15, 2008 X rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Stela
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
Becky
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
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
Kyle
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
Laura
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
Miriam
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
Matthew
For modern readers, the most compelling aspect of Flatland is inevitably the philosophical and theological undertones of the book. It is the story of A. Square, who is the resident of an entirely two dimensional world in which everything exists on a single plane. Flatland, as the narrator names his world, is inhabited various geometrical figures who go about their lives unable to see more than a single straight line. In the course of the book, the narrator is visited by a sphere, who comes from...more
Doris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jarrodtrainque
Unless you're a mathematician, the chances of you reading any novels about geometry are probably slender. But if you read only two in your life, these are the ones. Taken together, they form a couple of accessible and charming explanations of geometry and physics for the curious non-mathematician. Flatland, which is also available under separate cover, was published in 1880 and imagines a two-dimensional world inhabited by sentient geometric shapes who think their planar world is all there is. B...more
Ana
Before anything, this is one of those reads that I'm sure I wasn't able to get from the first viewing. In the future, I will go back to it and probably find out more things than I did until now. It's such a pleasure to know there's more to discover in so few pages, more to see about the writing, the subject, the characters.

I will not go into the specifics of this work. It's already short as it is, and it's better to taste it on your own.

What I will comment on, though, is the finesse with which...more
Emanuela
Questo testo era consigliato come lettura di approfondimento in un corso sulla Open Education, infatti è un libro scritto da un educatore. Al tempo scelsi altre letture ma sono contenta che mi sia capitato adesso tra le mani.

Le riflessioni che stimola sono tante; a mio avviso tra le principali quella del tema della crescente complessità che, prendendo spunto dalla geometria euclidea, considera ambienti mono, bi, tridimensionali ed oltre.
Nel progredire con il numero di variabili in campo il prot...more
Kathleen
This book is about math in the same way that Anna Karenina is about a train. Yes, it is written from the first person point of view of a square. The fact that the angles of a polygon's vertexes determine his place in the class structure makes the story no less a criticism of the social divisions of Abbot's day.

Abbot uses the mathematical metaphor of dimension to berate his society for a very limited worldview. In doing this he, as so many great minds before him, used math to illustrate his argum...more
Abu Hasan
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
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, published in 1884, is Edwin A. Abbott's social satire and Christian apologetic. As a Cambridge mathematician, theologian, and schoolmaster, Abbott had a lot to say about his Victorian society and about being open-minded to the supernatural. He does this from the point of view of a humble square that lives in Flatland, a world of only two dimensions.

For the first half of the book ("This World"), the square explains th...more
Howard
Flatland was first published in 1884, but this annotated edition came out only in 2002, nearly 125 years later. Why would one want to annotate a fantasy, a work of the imagination? The answer has a couple of parts. First of all is the passage of time. Like the plays of W. S. Gilbert, unless you are well read in the history and literature of later 19th century England, Flatland has jokes, references, and satire on issues and topics to which a reader in the twenty-first century would be oblivious....more
Beguine
A quietly whacky, thoroughly odd book that's two parts geometry, two parts satire/social commentary, and one part story. It's a what-if story, a kind of proto hard science fiction, that details the lives and customs of a group of two dimensional figures wherein middle class pentagons try to make matches that will produce children with more sides and less acute angels, women are lines and almost wholly the chattel of their husbands (though chattel that must be appeased as they can kill with a tou...more
Jessica
Nov 30, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: squares
I first read this in elementary school, and then at least two more times a bit later on (though not at all in the past decade, which is dumb).

In terms of payback-for-time-invested, it is hard to think of a greater bang for one's buck than this short book. I have thought of Flatland and used it in an effort to explain something to myself or someone else at least once a year since I was about ten, which means, I dunno, like five pages per occasion of great usefulness....? Not sure how that works o...more
Mike
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
aPriL meows 'n growls TLDR
'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
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Book freaks: Flatland 12 30 Apr 16, 2014 03:28PM  
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Goodreads Italia: Flatlandia: Racconto fantastico a più dimensioni di Edwin A. Abbott - Commenti e discussione 42 121 May 27, 2013 02:52AM  
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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
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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..” 25 likes
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