a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The French Mathematician (1998)
Tom Petsinis
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
Highly Rated!

A fictionalized account (in first person) of the life and untimely death of Evariste Galois, originator of the mathematical subject now known as group theory.

Contributed by Suzanne Cody

This is a story about a mathematician, not really a story about mathematics, though mathematics makes an as much of an appearance as necessary to demonstrate that Evariste Galoise was indeed a brilliant mathematician (Group Theory was based on his discoveries), not just some flaky romantic (though he was that, too) who managed to get himself killed in a duel over a woman at age 21. A wonderful read--especially a book about mathematics (on a level) that isn't science fiction or a mystery. The author's first American publication.

Contributed by Selina Tanner

It is a great book with many interesting information about mathematics. I hope that more books like this one exist. And thank you for this usefull page. I'm very interested in mathematics and can use this page very well to find literature about mathematical themes. Many greetings from Selina

PS: Please excuse my english but my native language is German. But I hope you understand what I wrote.

PPS: Where are you from if I may ask? And where did you find all this informations about all these books?

Where am I from? Well, right now I live in Charleston, South Carolina, in the southeastern United States where we have palm trees, beaches and flowers blooming all year. However, I grew up in New York City (so English is not my native language either ; ).

As for where I found all of these books and things, it has taken some time. My main sources are (a) just browsing at the library or book store (b) searching at or (c) searching with databases like "Novelist" at the public library and most importantly (d) suggestions from people who have visited the site and happen to know some examples of mathematical fiction that I had not previously noticed. Do you know of any German mathematical fiction that I do not yet have listed here?

Thanks to Vijay Fafat for pointing out that this book is based on Petsinis' master's degree thesis which was itself a fictional biography of Galois and has its own WorldCat entry.

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Works Similar to The French Mathematician
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Der Rechenmeister [aka The Mathematician] by Dieter J├Ârgensen
  2. Infinity by Patricia Broderick
  3. D'Alembert's Principle: A Novel in Three Panels by Andrew Crumey
  4. Evariste and Heloise by Marco Abate
  5. Evariste Galois by Alexadre Astruc (writer and director)
  6. Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois by Leopold Infeld
  7. Der Tag ohne Abend (The Day without Evening) by Leo Perutz
  8. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
  9. Oracle by Greg Egan
  10. The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly by Dietmar Dath
Ratings for The French Mathematician:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3.4/5 (5 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.2/5 (5 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)