Flatland

Flatland, by a Square is a book that has long defied genre categorization. It can be viewed as a whimsical book about geometry. It can be taken as a philosophical treatise, a social satire, and even a Christian Allegory. One thing is for certain, this short, quirky book, published in 1884, holds the reader's interest.

A synopsis or summary of Flatland consumes more words than the summaries of much longer works. The plot and description verge on minimalist. Determining a scene to be left out or diminished is nearly impossible to do. The first half of the book is dedicated to describing a mathematical world while the last half focuses on the metaphysical ramifications of that world.

Many an analysis of Flatland has been written. They come from a variety of perspectives. Some of what the reader gets out of Flatland has to do with what the reader brings with him. Some have called Flatland sexist because of the way women are treated in the book. The reader should remember that the book is at least partly social satire and the author certainly was lampooning the treatment of females in his own day, age, and country.

Who was the author of Flatland? The cover notes that the book was written by a "Square". This serves as the pseudonym of Edwin Abbott Abbott. He was the headmaster of the City of London School. In his day he wrote many textbooks and books about religion. He had taken orders in the Anglican church and this certainly influenced his writings. Abbott never married and dedicated his life to academics. One of his interests was mathematics and this can certainly be seen in Flatland.

Two movies were made about Flatland in 2007. They are referred to as "Flatland: The Movie" and "Flatland: the Film". The movie is a half hour version and sticks largely to the mathematical side of the story. Martin Sheen and other famous actors lend their voices for the various parts. It has whitewashed some of the satirical aspects of the story. The "Film" attempts to retain the biting satire, but actually injects some modern references that some viewers may find curious and that will ultimately date the film. This version is far longer (98 min).

This folio on Flatland contains several articles about the book and movies. To read all of the information we have gathered on this interesting work, simply use the "next page" links at the end of each article. Those wishing to get to a specific article can use the links in the contents above or make use of the navigation bar near the top of each page. We have made a list of Resources for Flatland, including a free ebook, to aid in further reading and study. This folio was written assembled by W.J. Rayment.

A Synopsis of Flatland >>

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