AN EPISODE OF FLATLAND: OR HOW A PLANE FOLK DISCOVERED THE THIRD DIMENSION. TO WHICH IS ADDED AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF UNAEA. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Limd., 1907. Octavo, pp. [1-8] 1-181 [182: blank] [183: ads] [184: blank], figures in text, original maroon cloth, front panel ruled in blind, spine panel stamped in gold. First edition, first binding with "Sonnenschein" printed at base of spine panel. C. H. Hinton (1853-1907) was concerned with finding ways of expanding the mind beyond the confines it had been taught to accept as final. His interest in the fourth dimension was the outcome of this search. He published his first essay on the topic, "What is the Fourth Dimension?," in 1880. In the famous analogy, pioneered by Edwin A. Abbott in FLATLAND (1884), and by Hinton himself in "A Plane World" (1886), a being of two dimensions would not be able to perceive a three dimensional object, such as a cube, and would perceive it in two dimensions only, as a square. In the same way, a man is not able to perceive any four dimensional objects, and if any are encountered, he explains them in terms of the familiar three dimensions. Hinton's "very strange story [AN EPISODE OF FLATLAND] describes a two-dimensional world rather more complicated than Abbott's, and features a startling plot in which the inhabitants of a two-dimensional planet avoid collision with another by diverting their 'world' in[to] the third dimension, taking advantage of the fact that -- like the human hero of 'An Unfinished Communication' -- their souls have access to more dimensions than their bodies." - Stableford, Scientific Romance in Britain 1890-1950, p. 137. "At the time of his death, Hinton's last book, AN EPISODE OF FLATLAND ... was in press. We can fittingly regard this mature and mellow novel as Hinton's last testament. Any preconceptions of Hinton as some sort of narrow-minded crank are dispelled by the gentle self-irony of the book, which features two characters modeled on Hinton himself." - Rudy Rucker, "Life in the Fourth Dimension: C. H. Hinton and His Scientific Romances," Foundation 18 (January 1980), 12-18. Hinton's work was destined to be the inspiration for other writers whose works would eclipse his own. His scientific romances provided ideas that may have influenced the early work of H. G. Wells, and his speculations on multidimensionality inspired the better known speculations of P. D. Ouspensky. Anatomy of Wonder (1981) 1-98. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1100. Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993), pp. 337 and 565. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy. p.113. Locke, Voyages in Space 108. Bleiler (1978), p. 100. Reginald 07230. A fine copy. This book is rarely found in the first issue binding. (#149740).
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