Flatland Questions and Answers
by Edwin A. Abbott

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How could Flatland be related to a real event in history?

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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First, we should note that the Reverend Edwin Abbott, as were most schoolmasters and university tutors of the period, was an ordained priest in the Church of England. Thus in some ways, Flatland serves as an allegory of a secular world encountering the divine (e.g. when characters in the Bible encounter the risen Jesus). Just as Flatlanders can only perceive in two dimensions and must use reason and intuition to extrapolate the nature of multidimensional objects, our knowledge is also limited by what we can perceive in a world that might seem as limited to other beings as Flatland does to us. This sort of reading would emphasize the parallels between Abbott's work and the Allegory of the Cave in Plato's Republic; as Abbott was a Senior Classics medallist at Cambridge, he would have been deeply familiar with Plato. 

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