Maybe you will all know the substantial plot of this novel, but I'll say it for eventual isolated cases. Flatland is an alternative world in two dimensions, populated by flat geometric figures. The main character tell us of the features of this world and "people": the gerarchic society, some habits in everyday interactions, and so on. Besides there is a second part where the main character, a square, will explore other dimensional realities: Lineland, Spaceland and Pointland. Worlds with other dimensions.
I can't think of a more fitting adjective than "remarkable". There is an afterword in my Italian edition which contains a such a right observation: between the madness of an imaginary world built from its basis and the coherence and intelligence of its principles there is the most distinctive feature of this brilliant novel. It has the characteristics of the incontrovertible evidence. I've thought about what can be considered more phraiseworthy: a complete fantastic world in which imagination has the total power or an imagined world still lied to rigid and inevitable mathematic laws to respect, so, less similar to "an autogenerated fantastic burst"? Is an unconfined imagination more phraiseworthy than a subtle intelligence in uniting already existing geometric principles to an imaginary world?
Inventing from nothing personal laws for our creation can be the most remarkable and marvelous thing to do, if it succeeds, but the "adversary" mentioned is no less so.
And Abbott does it perfectly.
Particularly in reinterpreting his actual society in geometric figures, social laws. An outstanding intelligence and inventiveness: I mean, thinking about all the implications in applying the figure of the straight line to women could be sufficient: I appreciated what was said behind the sharp consequences in exposing the beginning or the end of it (an allusion maybe to our feminine nature, gentle, kind and loving but also cruel when we want) besides the social critic, so as I said how they are perceived in the English sexist sociey of that times. In the second part a valuable example could be Pointland and the philosophical implications in thinking "non-dimensionally". So well represented. That could be applied perfectly to how in adding dimension the represententatives of them were more open and ready to accept differences, like a "three-dimensional mind".
For a moment I've thought that Abbott was sharing the beliefs of his people, but then! I was not fully aware! In fact there was that "unsaid" which lies on the surface, the subtle smile of a silent satire. I loved that thin line between endorsement and critic.
A really appreciated surprise. I'm a slouch in maths and being able to follow Abbott's explanations and reasonings has been reassuring. I was avoiding this precisely because of the fear of not being able of understanding. Well:
At the end of the day
She said a realized "yay!"