Flatland
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Flatland
Edwin A. Abbott
Literature
Aug 9, 2018
A novel of mathematical whimsy, Flatland is set in the peculiar world that provides the book’s name and is home to its putative author, A. Square, a two-dimensional being in a world inhabited by lines, triangles, circles, and polygons. Ingeniously composed as a kind of dystopian memoir, Flatland is a stunning piece of social satire, depicting with great acuity the gender and class distinctions of Victorian Britain. Abbott’s notions about the larger conundrums posed by different dimensions and their relationships to one another were ahead of their time, mathematically speaking, but the enduring fascination of his fable is its depiction of the perils of making the world simpler than it is, no matter how elegantly provable that simplicity may seem.
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Oct 15, 2018
Surprised by how funny and still relevant this was.
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Dec 25, 2018
Fun imaginary world.
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A wonderful way to explain upward mobility and classicism
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A short novel illustrating the wisdom of recognizing that there are valid perspectives other than our own, limited, ones. Kinda makes you think more about how a fourth dimension would be perceived by those able to experience it.
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Great book!
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Mar 26
read it twice and still think life's too short.
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Mind bending (flattening?)
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Important for encouraging different angles of observation
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Sounds interesting
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Delightful and a quick read.
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liked the story
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Contrived, repetitive, boring.
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This is a fun and excellent exercise in how to visualize Euclidean space. Ian Stewart's Annotated Flatland is definitive.
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Will never forget Carl Sagan's use of this book in Cosmos. Best advertisement ever :-)
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A quirky, but cleverly written and geometrically entertaining book about the structures of society.
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I couldn't even finish it! I just found the prose so dry and unfocused, I never wanted to pick it back up after I put it down.
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Flatland, written by Edwin Abbott Abbott (seriously), is a novella written in the 1st person by a resident of a two-dimensional world who becomes aware of and visits different dimensions, from the 0 dimension up to the 3rd. The satirical aspects are the most commented on part by most people, as Abbott uses the detailed description of Flatland to mock the deeply entrenched social castes of Victorian England, but what I found more interesting was that Abbott - who was among other things a respected theologian - seems to be jeering (or at least questioning) several traditional aspects of Christian doctrine along with colonialism. Two things in particular stand out: First, the determined efforts of the "Spacelanders" (3rd dimension people) to make the Flatlanders understand the reality of the 3rd dimension is a clear analogy for colonialism generally and maybe specifically the pathological missionary efforts of men like William Carey. It can't be a coincidence that these efforts in the book end largely in disaster. Second, and more interesting is the brief section where the narrator visits the 0th(?) dimension and sees a being whose entire universe is just the single point that is himself. This being sings happily about the complete and unending joy that the totality of his existence affords him. It's hard to imagine a man with Abbott's theological background mirroring some traditional Christian language about God's self-opinion that closely by accident. In the story the characters ridicule the singularity's idiocy and move on. Bit cheeky really.
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Wow... how was this written so long ago? Talk about holding up.
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Agree (75)
Life's too short (14)
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