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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884)


In 1884 English clergyman and headmaster of the City of London School  Edwin A. Abbott published a work of scientific fantasy or mathematical fiction entitled Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. With illustrations by the Author, A SQUARE.

"It is a charming, slightly pedestrian tale of imaginary beings; polygons who live in a two-dimensional universe of the Euclidean plane. Just below the surface, though, it is a biting satire on Victorian values--especially as regards women and social status-- and an accomplished and original piece of scientific popularization about the fourth dimension. And, perhaps, an allegory of a spiritual journey" (Ian Stewart, editor, The Annotated Flatland [2002] ix).

♦ In 2008 Ladd Ehlinger Jr. produced an excellent computer-animated film of Flatland, which he characterized as a tale of "math, physics, dimensionality, philosophy, religion and war."