Flatland - A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott (Heathen Edition)

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

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.”

Considering its age, Flatland reads as if it were a mostly modern text with dashes of archaic language and phrasing peppered throughout for stylistic flair. Certainly, that has to be, in part, why it manages to find an audience even today, 135 years on. That in mind, we’ve kept our Heathenistic editing to a minimum. Some words have been updated to reflect their modern usage, which is why “shew” is now “show,” etc. The same can be said for some hyphenated words, a few of which we have removed (the hyphens, we mean), and some word pairings that were once two words but are now one: “for ever” is now “forever,” and so on.

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!

  • Heathenry or: Concerning the text and its illustrations
  • Preface to the Second and Revised Edition, 1884.
  • PART ONE: this world.
    1. Of the Nature of Flatland
    2. Of the Climate and Houses in Flatland
    3. Concerning the inhabitants of Flatland
    4. Concerning the Women
    5. Of our Methods of recognizing one another
    6. Of Recognition by Sight
    7. Concerning Irregular Figures
    8. Of the Ancient Practice of Painting
    9. Of the Universal Color Bill
    10. Of the Suppression of the Chromatic Sedition
    11. Concerning our Priests
    12. Of the Doctrine of our Priests
  • PART TWO: other worlds.
    1. How I had a Vision of Lineland
    2. How I vainly tried to explain the Nature of Flatland
    3. Concerning a Stranger from Spaceland
    4. How the Stranger Vainly Endeavored to Reveal to me in Words the Mysteries of Spaceland
    5. How the Sphere, having in vain tried words, resorted to deeds
    6. How I came to Spaceland, and what I saw there
    7. How, though the Sphere showed me other mysteries of Spaceland, I still desired more; and what came of it
    8. How the Sphere encouraged me in a Vision
    9. How I tried to teach the Theory of Three Dimensions to my Grandson, and with what success
    10. How I then tried to diffuse the Theory of Three Dimensions by other means, and of the result

    “A timeless classic of perennial fascination that seems to have been written for today. Like all great art, it defies the tyrant Time. Start it and you will fall under its spell.” –Banesh Hoffmann

    “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

    Heathen Edition #4: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

    Retail: $9.95
    Published: April 3, 2019
    Format: Paperback
    Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
    Weight: 7.6 ounces
    Cover: Matte Finish
    Interior: Black & White on Cream Paper
    Pages: 148 (+2 POD)
    Language: English
    Annotated: Yes
    Illustrations: 16

  • Title Page
  • Dimensions
  • Heathenry Flame
  • Title Page: PART ONE
  • Part One includes 5 new illustrations
  • Title Page: PART TWO
  • Part Two includes 5 new illustrations
  • Honorary Heathen Headshot
  • ISBN-10: 1948316048
    ISBN-13: 9781948316040
    ASIN: 1948316048
    Categories:

  • Fiction / Classics
  • Fiction / Satire
  • Fiction / Science Fiction
  • Author

    Edwin Abbott Abbott

    Genre

    Satireality

    First Edition

    1884

    Heathen Edition

    April 3, 2019

    Page Count

    148

    ISBN-13

    978-1-948316-04-0