It was in vain. I brought my hardest right angle into violent collision with the Stranger, pressing on him with a force sufficient to have destroyed any ordinary Circle, but I could feel him slowly and unarrestably slipping from my contact; no edging to the right nor to the left, but moving somehow out of the world, and vanishing to nothing. Soon there was a blank. But still I heard the Intruder’s voice.
“Why will you refuse to listen to reason? I had hoped to find in you—as being a man of sense and an accomplished mathematician—a fit apostle for the Gospel of the Three Dimensions, which I am allowed to preach once only in a thousand years, but now I know not how to convince you. Stay, I have it: deeds, and not words, shall proclaim the truth . . . ”
Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838–1926) was an English clergyman, schoolmaster, Shakespearean scholar, and theologian best known as the author of the 1884 satirical novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Written pseudonymously as “A Square,” the book used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to parody the puritanical hierarchy and rigid stratification of Victorian culture, especially the low status of women.
An underground favorite since its publication, inspiring many novel sequels and films, the story’s most enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions, which introduced aspects of relativity and hyperspace years before Einstein published his famous theories. An illuminating mathematical treatise, Flatland has experienced a revival in popularity, especially among sci-fi and cyberpunk fans, due to its sharp social satire and challenge to our most basic perceptions of everyday reality “that seems to have been written for today.”
"A timeless classic of perennial fascination that seems to have been written for today."
The true bulk of our work lies in the footnotes and the illustrations, the latter of which we have painstakingly recreated to better coordinate with our pseudo-Swiss design aesthetic. We’re wondering if Flatlanders care anything of typography?
If you’re on the hunt for a better version, might we suggest Ian Stewart’s The Annotated Flatland. It’s jam-packed with more Flatlandish trivia than you ever thought you needed to know!
“This is a delirious book.” –The New York Times
“Flatland has remained of interest for over a century precisely because of its ability to engage its readers on so many different planes in so many different dimensions.” –Victorian Studies
“Instructive, entertaining, and stimulating to the imagination.” –The Mathematics Teacher
“The incredulity of ignorance and the unreceptive attitude of the human mind toward new truth are painted to perfection. This story of surfaces and squares and cubes may well serve to shake out of their conceited complacency the whole race of dogmatists, whether they belong to the schools of philosophy, science, or religion.” –The Literary World
“Never been equaled for clarity of thought.” –The Nation
“To the great majority, Dr. Abbott’s sphere penetrating Flatland points the way to the clearest imagery of the fourth dimension to which they are likely to attain.” –William Garnett
“Flatland is not just an amusing and witty exercise in geometry, but is a dissertation that could lead to very profound thought about our Universe and ourselves.” –Isaac Asimov
“This pre-Einstein geometrical fantasy is one of the best things of its kind that has ever been written.” –Saturday Review of Literature
“Abbott pretends to be doing one thing, but is truly doing another. Too late you realize you have been entertained and taught-a-lesson, all in one.” –Ray Bradbury
Published: April 3, 2019
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.37 inches
Weight: 7.1 ounces
Cover: Matte Finish
Interior: Black & White on Cream Paper
Pages: 148 (+2 POD)
Annotations: 47 Footnotes
Edwin Abbott Abbott
April 3, 2019