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Beth E. Barba

Professor, Department of Community Practice

Beth E. Barba

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a novella written by Edwin Abbott in 1884 to instruct about science and mathematics. I first read this charming, timeless story in an advanced nursing theory course. I followed the Flatlander through the process of re-evaluating all the preconceptions he had about the nature of reality as he gradually becomes enlightened about worlds of higher dimensions, worlds he previously never imagined. When he returns to his world with his new-found knowledge, resistant populace refuses to accept his insights. Like other prophets, he suffers rejection and isolation. Flatland contains a plea to all readers for the enlargement of imagination and cultivation of that rarest gift of openness. I believe this message is the essence of education.