LITERATURE: Flatland – Politics

How many authors have I read now that had been writing under threat of political persecution–Boethius, Aristotle, Voltaire, Bulgakov.  And now, while Abbott is not under such, his character of Square, the narrator of this story ends up there evidently and Abbott himself published the novel originally under a pseudonym so as not to risk tarnishing his reputation by writing about unheard-of ideas.

This, in the Preface says it well:

What would you say to such a visitor?  Would not you have him locked up?  Well, that is my fate; and it is so natural for us Flatlanders to lock up a Square for preaching the Third Dimension as it is for you Spacelanders to lock up a Cube for preaching the Fourth.  Alas, how strong a family likeness runs through blind and persecuting humanity in all Dimensions!  Lines, Squares, Cubes, Extra-Cubes–we are all liable to the same errors, all alike the Slaves of our respective Dimensional prejudices, as one of your Spaceland poets has said–"One touch of Nature makes all worlds akin."  (p. ix.)

Even in our own modern democratic society there are those who will aspire to higher knowledge and ideas that are in conflict with those long established and held by the majority.  Abbott here is just adding a touch of historical realism to his fantastical story.

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