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Flatland: An Edition with Notes and Commentary (Spectrum) 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521759946
ISBN-10: 0521759943
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is all good fun, and the authors point out much that we readers would probably otherwise miss.... This annotated version of Flatland is clearly designed to be enjoyed by a very wide audience. ... Readers of this edition will become more familiar with Edwin A. Abbott the person. The multitude of notes explaining, among other things, Abbott's wordplay, his grasp of classical Greek culture, and his critical views of Victorian society makes us almost feel like we are having a conversation with him.... I highly recommend this edition. Abbott's story can be enjoyed by those with a taste for any combination of mathematics, linguistics, social commentary, history, philosophy, religion, and faith. Lindgren and Banchoff's notes and commentary deepen the enjoyment of these many dimensions of Abbott's creation."
David A. Huckaby, MAA Reviews

"There (have been) lots of new editions (of Flatland) and further interpretations of the original. But the book presented here is something totally new. ... The book can be highly recommended, it is a must for all admirers of Flatland."
Karin Reich, Zentralblatt MATH

"Flatland should be in every mathematics collection, and this is the definitive edition. Outstanding Academic Title."
C. A. Gorini, Maharishi University of Management, Choice Magazine

"With their informative notes, Banchoff and Lindgren add immeasurably to the text. In addition to explanations of arcane terminology and of the mathematics involved, they provide the background necessary to understand the book in the context of Victorian England. It is a period during which entrenched ideas, both social and scientific, were undergoing dramatic metamorphosis. Banchoff and Lindgren's comments on Abbott and his milieu allow the reader to comprehend this fascinating turning point in history. ... The plethora of fascinating background information and detail will make you appreciate the book at a much deeper level."
American Scientist

Book Description

This is a fully annotated edition of Edwin Abbott Abbott's classic work Flatland. Including mathematical notes and historical notes that show connections to late-Victorian England and to classical Greece, citations from Abbott's other writings, and commentary on language and literary style enhance the usefulness of Flatland as an elementary introduction to higher-dimensional geometry.
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Product Details

  • Series: Spectrum
  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521759943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521759946
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By BDF on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edwin A. Abbott's "Flatland" finally receives its due in this wonderful book. I hope very much that this annotated edition by Lindgren and Banchoff edition will spread interest far and wide, and will increase appreciation for its many aspects. I now believe that every student--and we are all students--should have the full experience of "Flatland," and this edition provides clear access to it. I often found myself happily wondering about possible alternatives to their suggestions; in other words, I was drawn in completely, though I have read "Flatland" many times and consider myself an honorary Flatlander.

Abbott's text appears on every left hand page; the annotations occur on the opposite, right hand page. "Flatland" has long served as a way of entry to higher-dimension geometries, and as a satire of Victorian mores. While attending to these elements (and doing in much more detail that other commentators), Lindgren and Banchoff explore the likenesses to Plato's cave with unprecedented thoroughness, and provide geometric diagrams and descriptions on many levels that will aid those readers who are "geometrically challenged" and that will engage mathematicians as well. Historical, cultural, and political notes abound as well.

The notes are not "explanations." Rather, they are ways of increasing enjoyment and of posing questions concerning the nature and limits of human imagination that anyone can enter, and that everyone can learn from and savor.
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Format: Paperback
I first read Flatland in high school or junior high, finding it a fun little fantasy, though at the time I didn't grasp all the satire within it -- my interest was focused on the allusions to higher dimensions. This edition of the book is just about as thorough an annotated analysis of the novel's text as one could imagine -- indeed, the comments come so fast and furious that I question whether this is the best way to first encounter Edwin Abbott's little gem. I agree with at least one other reviewer that the format -- original text on the left page and notes on the right page -- is so distracting that reading it smoothly becomes a real challenge. Of course, just the sheer number of footnotes, regardless of placement, would slow things down. I suggest finding another edition for your maiden read, then come back to this one to get a full appreciation of the text. The annotation here is a thorough and admirable accomplishment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read Flatland as part of my high school geometry class in 1960 and had recently recommended it to my grandsons. I thought that I should re-read it to discus it with them. The commentary by Lindgren and Banchoff really opened up the full ramifications of Abbott's original intent as a social commentary and it expanded my interpretation of this classic work.

The specific comments placed across from each page of Abbott's text is a superb method for increasing our understanding of the multiple interpretations of Abbott's wit and wisdom.
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It is a bit difficult to read because the novel is on the left page and the notes are on the right page. Once you get used to reading every other page, it is easier to keep the continuity going. This edition is really for college level reading, but the novel itself was a big hit with my 11 year-old proto-Sheldon.
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Easily one of my favorite books. Five stars are not enough! I have given copies to friends and I used it as a supplemental text in afew of my high school mathematics classes. A great thought provoking book!
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