The Critic (April 18, 1885), p. 185.
A mathematician might not unnaturally anticipate a delicious bit of satire on taking up
Flatland: A Romance of many Dimensions, by A. Square. (Boston: Roberts Bros.) But
we are confident that, after reading it, `the dreary infinities of homoloidal space,'
complained of by Clifford, will appear to him infinitely drearier than ever. For the
non-mathematical reader the satire is too nebulous to be effective. An intelligent lady reader
tells us it is a satire on geometry, while an equally intelligent mathematician comes to the
conclusion that it is a satire on society. Now, a satire whose object is a matter of dispute
reminds us of the fable in which the monkey unrolled his panorama before the audience in
a darkened chamber, having forgotten to light the candle. In one instance, however, a light
flashed upon us --- viz., on reading that women, in Flatland, were straight lines, and
therefore dangerous to meet `end on.' It occurs to us that in order to justify the title of `A
Romance' (defined by Webster as a `a kind of novel'), the writer will have to persuade Mr.
Hawthorne to invert his statement that the aim of the novel is to hold up to humanity `the
illusion of a lofty reality,' and to substitute therefore, `the reality of a lofty illusion.'