Flächenland : ein mehrdimensionaler Roman

by Edwin Abbott Abbott

Other authorsJoachim Kalka (Translator)
Hardcover, 1999



Call number

HL 4990 A131 F5



Laxenburg: Götz


A square, who is a resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, dreams of the one-dimensional Lineland. He attempts to convince the monarch of Lineland of the possibility of another dimension, but the monarch cannot see outside the line. The square is then visited himself by a Sphere from three-dimensional Spaceland, who must show the square Spaceland before he can conceive it. As more dimensions enter the scene, the story's discussion of fixed thought and the kind of inhuman action which accompanies it intensifies.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
I read this book millions of years ago at the recommendation of my geometry teacher when I was in high school. It happened that my geometry teacher was married to my literature teacher, and I couldn't understand how such a travesty could occur. I hated geometry, and this was my first glimpse that
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mathematics could be as interesting as literature. If the object of education is to teach one how to think, this book is a prime example of its success.
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LibraryThing member figre
You don’t have to be a math geek, but it doesn’t hurt. There isn’t an extensive plot; it’s not a novel in any real sense. And it is written in a style of the late 19th century, a style of writing that can leave readers working harder to decipher the language than the actual story. But there
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is a reason this exploration of dimensions has been around a really long time. It is fun to read, the language is actually pretty penetrable, and, while posing as an exploration of interesting things about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. dimensions (which it does well), it does a fairly decent job of pointing out the problems with society and people. While it’s easy enough to think of this as showing the intolerance and narrow-minded thinking of the late 1800’s, do not be fooled – we have gotten no better. It is a relatively quick read (for me, a flight from Kansas City to Phoenix), but the kind that will keep coming back.
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LibraryThing member Paulagraph
An amusing and petite (82 pp)mathematical fantasy written over a century ago, Flatland proves to be a gentle social satire a la Gulliver's Travels that doesn't quite manage to rise above the sexism and classism of its time (even while poking fun at such social prejudices). Flatland's Gulliver is a
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Professional Man Square (for comparison, Middle Class Men are Equilateral Triangles, all Women are Straight Lines & Lower Class Males are Isosceles Triangles of varying angles, the more acute, the lower the class) in a two-dimensional world where the ultimate goal is to engender a Circle. He visits the one-dimensional world of the line in a dream, the no-dimensional world of the point in his imagination and the three-dimensional world of the cube and the sphere with the assistance of a guide from Spaceland. He is ultimately imprisoned (what else could be his fate?) as a heretic (his heresy, the news of 3-dimensional Space).
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LibraryThing member krazy4katz
I reviewed this book in Amazon in 2008 and have pasted it here. If this is the wrong thing to do, please send me a message and I will remove it. Thank you.

This has always been a favorite of mine, so I wanted to christen my kindle with it. I imagine most people who will buy it for the kindle have
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probably already read it. If you like a mixture of Gulliver's Travels, Geometry and social commentary, it is worth the small amount of money. Of course you can get it for free since it was written in the late 1800's, but the Gutenberg version doesn't have good diagrams - they are all ASCII. I couldn't find diagrams in the versions available on AMAZON except the Oxford World's Classics edition, so that is the one I recommend. The diagrams are important for the geometry aspect and are excellent in this version.
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LibraryThing member lmichet
This book was given an overview in a silly book from the 1960s which my father once gave to me-- it was a book of math puzzles and the like. That book, however, did not hint to me that Flatland is really more of a Victorian social commentary than a book about math. I enjoy creative books about
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math, like 'The Math Devil'. The Math Devil is one fine book.

Anyway, Flatland is interesting, yes, but-- well-- it's Victorian social commentary! Not something I enjoy reading for the sake of itself. Victorian social commentary is fine when there's an interesting plot to be had, but using MATH to make Victorian social commentary more interesting? Hmm. Not exactly the best decision. But it's still good, and it's very easy to see why this is a classic. Everyone should get around to reading it at least once-- and it's so short that this shouldn't be a problem for anyone, really.
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LibraryThing member statethatiamin
It's probably a well known fact that this book is used by math teachers everywhere as an invaluable guide to understanding dimensions. It probably also well known that Flatland is an effective illumination of Victorian class structure. What I wasn't expecting was that this book would open my eyes
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in a profound way. For me, I found that Flatland was, more than anything, a call to imagine the unimaginable. The metaphor of the protagonist trying to conceive of something beyond his ability, but unequivocally existent nonetheless, was the perfect sentiment for me to try to approach things with a more open mind.

The only thing stopping me from rating this a perfect '5' was the beginning chapters that seemed to drag on monotonously, for me.

Flatland is a book I am not likely to ever forget.
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LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
A short, surreal trip that makes me very curious and almost suspicious about life. Never before have I enjoyed geometry so much, and I'll probably never look at it the same way again.
LibraryThing member wendyrey
Interesting novella, a sort of mixture of science fiction/social commentary and a Dummy's guide to dimensions and relativity.
Very , very clever.
LibraryThing member LaurenGommert
I love this book...even though most of it's way over my head! Still, an awesome book written with a concept that no one has come close to copying since its release. When the book was written readers weren't sure how to classify it, so it got lumped in with sci-fi...which it isn't really. It has
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more to do with geometrics and philosophy. I bet that's a pair you never thought you'd see together!
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LibraryThing member robble
A wonderful philosophical novel which is a must read classic. This is basically the best book without real people that you are ever going to see. Abbott may be completely out of his mind, but he knows what he's talking about.
LibraryThing member KimMarie1
Absolutely brilliant - a true masterpiece. The premise is so simple - just the basics of elementary school mathematics. Abbott makes characters out of basic shapes with such diversity and far reaching social commentaries that are as relevant today as it was in the time in which he wrote it.
LibraryThing member Sovranty
This multifaceted story is hilarious, riveting, and thought-provoking. For the religious arguments, it is cleverly disguised as a book about mathematics. For the mathematics arguments, it is a stepping stone to grasping the string theory or M theory. For the sociological arguments, it is timeless.
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Even as a stand-alone story, it is recommended and definitely worth the read.
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LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
(Despite what my daughter says, this is not a book about Illinois.)
This is an odd little book--kind of like a geometric fairy tale. The narrator of this tale is A Square. He tells of his world, a universe of two dimensions. It's inhabitants are all polygons and in the first section, Mr. Square
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describes the society in which these creatures live. In the second section, he then describes his encounters with other dimensions: Lineland, Pointland and Spaceland. It's not a terribly complex book--I happened to have read a book called The Planiverse which offered a two dimensional world with much more scientific detail--but Flatland has a definite style and essence to its tale which makes it memorable. That's probably why this book from 1884 (second edition) was reprinted 68 years later in 1952 and why it's going on my shelf 118 years later in 2002.
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LibraryThing member MeriwetherR
Impressed with how the author uses fiction to explain a complex concept and provoke thought.
LibraryThing member hansel714
Science fiction meets geometry meets fairy tale. It gets odder. Published in 1884, this has to be one of the first book that uses a story to illustrate principles of geometry. Part I describes the world of Flatland where all its inhabitants are shapes on a flat and very large piece of paper. Part
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II tells of a messiah, a 3D sphere, descending into Flatland and appearing to a Square. When the Square wants to spread the gospel of 3D, no one believes him. It's a political satire, social parody, philosophical argument, and scientific enlightment. How odd can that be.
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LibraryThing member aratiel
Very interesting concept...the world of two-dimensional shapes explained by a square (named, appropriately enough, A. Square) who visits other planes and dimensions (Pointland, Lineland, and Spaceland). While it makes some valid points about humanity's false sense of superiority and true ignorance
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of higher consciousnesses, I could not overlook the blatant sexism. Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be a parody of Victorian society, where women were shamelessly repressed and thought of as inferior to men, but I could not help bristling when I read "...among Women, we use language implying the utmost deference for their Sex...but behind their backs they are both regarded and spoken of - by all except the very young - as being little better than 'mindless organisms.' " The women in Flatland are ruled by emotions such as love and morality, which are thought to be silly ideas by the men who abide solely by logic. Parody or not, I cannot forgive the author for this. So, Mr. Abbott, if you were alive I would have this to say to you: "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries." So there.
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LibraryThing member gazzy
Ok Ok we get it, the possibility of many dimensions by looking past our own, great now shut up.
LibraryThing member frightful_elk
This is a fantastic book!Written by A.Square, he tells us of his 2D world and his experiences of our 3D one. On one hand an amusing whimisical story which lampoons Victorian society and morals, on the other an intresting intellectual and imaginative exercise. It's a brilliant read!
LibraryThing member MrBobble
Not at all what I was expecting. No romance was involved. Instead, it was the romance of the mind; figuring out how to move upwards but not northwards. The book is a satire, an essay on multidimensional space, but not a romance novel.
LibraryThing member Griff
Flatland. A nice read. A nice suggestion from a friend.

At one point early in the book, when the narrator describes the lot of women in Flatland (and the “obvious” reasons for that lot) I could not help but think back to time spent in Qatar and the points of reference historically, socially and
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religiously describing the view of women in Islamic and Arabic cultures.

I thought the mathematic and geometric explanations were masterful. I was struck by the powerful description of the way in which the paradigm with which we view the world limits our ability to comprehend certain things, while for others with a different paradigm, it is a matter of course. The various passages related to this theme reminded me of two works which have affected me a great deal: George Engel’s description of the his biopsychosocial model for medicine in “Where You Think You Stand Determines What You Think You See” – and Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

I smiled and laughed at one point during the description of Lineland, when it was pointed out “once a neighbor, always a neighbor.” I immediately thought Lineland would necessarily have to be rampant with incest and homosexuality (or both simultaneously) until the author (or Lineland Monarch) anticipated my thoughts and described the marriage and mating rituals and processes. I breathed a sigh of relief and read on.

A brief, but enjoyable book.
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LibraryThing member Optinik
i really enjoyed this book.

It is about a two dimensional world, aptly named Flatland. A particularly intelligent square, called A. Square (known as Albert in Flatterland; like Flatland, but more so), atracts the intelligents of a sphere. The sad truth is that Flatland is two dimensional, but, with
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the right amount of effort, one can raise oneself up, and become three-dimensional. None of the Flatlanders ever achieved this demigod-like position, until A. Square does, with the help of the Sphere. However, he upsets the sphere, and the book ends with a tragedy; A. imprisoned, and his story dismissed as a hoax, ubtil he himself can only remember the mantra 'Upwards, not Northwards.'

As interesting as a plot this is, the main reaon for the book being written is because it is a parody of Victorian society, with such concepts as sexism, blind pigheadedness in ignoring the third dimension and the superiority of the ruling classes are also present in Flatland.
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LibraryThing member bratfarrar
A bit dry, but an excellent way to get interested in geometry. Goes well with Euclid.
LibraryThing member masyukun
Have you ever had trouble visualizing what a high-dimensional space would look like? Have you considered what possibilities such a space would offer, and what it would be like to encounter a higher dimensional being?

Abbott's Victorian age novel explores these questions through analogy. This is the
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story of the two-dimensional world of Flatland, and its inhabitants' encounters with a mysterious and powerful three-dimensional being. Humorous and entertaining, this is one math text everyone can enjoy.
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LibraryThing member mariacle
Not even one month into the new year, and I'm throwing in the towel on a book. It's only 80 pages long, and I have struggled to get through 14 pages. I'm trying to excuse things by telling myself this is meant to be a satire, but the description of the females in Flatland is offensive - stupid,
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can't hold a thought in their heads, and because of how they are made they can't help how they act. To explain that, I'll give a little information regarding the denizens of Flatland: isosceles triangles are the lowest class, equilateral triangles next step on the social ladder, squares one more step up, etc... basically the more sides you have, the higher class you are. And in this lovely social structure, females are lines. And to explain the whole thing where females can't help how they act because of how they are made - in a two-dimensional world such as Flatland, depending on how you view a female, she is either visible as a line, or a single point. So, if you irritate a female and she goes off into a tizzy, she could inadvertently kill you with that point, but she's so stupid and has such a poor memory that a few minutes later she won't remember what happened. Aaarrrggghhhhhhh......

I'll hold onto this book for the time-being, but I really doubt I will ever finish reading it.
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LibraryThing member jmattas
The first part of this book, where the specifics of life in Flatland are explained, is boring and a bit awkward. It does give "life" to the inhabitants of that flat world and perhaps the rest of the book wouldn't be as captivating without it, but it feels like a kid ranting on about his cool new
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fantasy. Or perhaps I'm too informed in math to be thrilled by it. Actually I was disappointed by the "fog", I was expecting some motion-related means of identification.

What strikes out from the description is of course the stiff class society. The idea of relating world views and actual worlds is great. I mean, how can one make a better point of someone's narrow-mindedness than exposing him to an infinitely larger world.

The sphere refusing to understand or accept the possibility of higher dimensions is also a very strong scene. It can be viewed as a student questioning his mentor, who becomes aggressive, or as a reminder that although one has a reason to criticize another society, one's own is not perfect.
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3950101101 / 9783950101102
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