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[Edwin Abbott Abbott]
A Note on the Text
Copy-text for this HTML edition is the Princeton Science Library edition of Flatland, new material copyright 1991 by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, N.J. 08540, all rights reserved. We do not reproduce any of the copyrighted material here, for example the excellent introduction by Thomas Banchoff. This edition is a reprint of the 6th edition by Dover Publications, 1953, ISBN 0-691-02525-8, QA699.A13, 1991, 530.1'1--dc20, 90-28266. Since some page number references were incorrect, we altered them to Section and paragraph links instead.
This edition is also a corrected edition of the ASCII "Internet Wiretap Electronic Edition of FLATLAND, [Fifth Edition, Revised], A Public Domain Text, Instantiated by email@example.com in November 1990, The Internet Wiretap, of Cupertino, California, firstname.lastname@example.org." We have restored the illustrations by Abbott and the table of contents, as well as corrected a great many misprints in the Wiretap edition.
We have not attempted to provide notes for this edition. The usual introductions make it clear that Abbott intended a social satire of Victorian England's society, and an expression of his efforts to advance the cause of education for women and classes lower than the English aristocracy. Abbott was a successful theologian, classics scholar, and Shakespeare expert (which explains the Shakespearean references in the frontispiece and several quotations in this book), as well as proficient in mathematics. He was headmaster of the City of London School, a day school from which he had graduated.
Flatland has been discovered with delight by each generation since it was issued, and has remained in print since then. Introductions have pointed out the applicability to modern art, 20th-century physics, computer graphics and modeling, and exploratory data analysis. Readers might also enjoy a sequel, Sphereland, by Dionys Burger, 1965, as well as Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.
A novel that has Fourth Dimension elements can
also be found online:
Cogitators of the fourth dimension should be aware that Abbott is not talking about TIME. Time is the fourth dimension in a three-dimensional world, the fifth in a four-dimensional world, and so on. The dimensions he refers to are then of "space," or shall we say, "hyperspace."
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