With this satirical novella, English schoolmaster Edwin A. Abbott provides both a mathematical fantasy and pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. The narrator, "A. Square", resides in the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland. When he is visited by a sphere, he is suddenly faced with proof of the existence of three dimensions and is forced to see the limitations of his world.
In a foreword to one of the many publications of this novella, noted science writer Isaac Asimov described Flatland as “the best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions.” As such, this novella is still popular among mathematics, physics, and computer-science students.
“This pre-Einstein geometrical fantasy is one of the best things of its kind that has ever been written, for it is more than an ingeniously sustained fantasy: it is a social satire, with wit as sharp as the sub-lustrous end of a Flatland woman; it is an easy philosophical introduction to the fourth dimension; and it is a rebuke to everyone who holds that there is no reality beyond what is perceptible by human senses.” (
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