”I call our world Flatland, not because we call it so, but to make its nature clearer to you, my happy readers, who are privileged to live in Space...”
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF ABBOTT’S CLASSIC, INSCRIBED ON THE HALF-TITLE: “P.E. Matheson / With the Author’s kind regards”.
“Edwin Abbott’s Flatland may be one of the most unclassifiable works of literature ever published. While it is acknowledged to be a classic of early science fiction, a work of Victorian social satire, and a religious allegory, it also presents, through its introduction to higher dimensions, an important contribution to the development of an area of mathematics that was eventually merged into non-Euclidean geometry. Flatland is an unusually effective work that spans disciplines and challenges divisional categories. Since its publication in 1884, the book’s popularity has continued today as its readers have embraced it as science fiction, popular science, and metaphysics. Working from the groundwork of philosophical issues raised by Plato’s Republic, Flatland merges social satire and geometry to produce a novel situated in two-dimensional space, a believable world populated by memorable inhabitants whose geometric shapes designate their positions in a complex social structure, one that bears some resemblance to the Victorian class structure” (Lila Marz Harper, Flatland).
Provenance: Presented by Abbott to Percy Ewing Matheson, Oxford classical scholar and author.
Published pseudonymously by Abbott as “A Square”. London: Seeley & Co., 1884. Octavo, original paper wrappers with illustrated vellum jacket. Early repairs to jacket at spine and joints; foxing to endpapers (otherwise text clean). A rare inscribed copy.