MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face (1852)
Charles Kingsley
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A fictionalized account of the life and murder of Hypatia, once recognized as the greatest living mathematician in the Greco-Roman world. This book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more on the religious implications (especially the role of the Christian Church in her murder) than on her mathematics. I have not read the book and so do not have any idea of how much mathematics is discussed. If you have read this book, please write to me with comments. (BTW: A good discussion of what we do/don't know about Hypatia's mathematics was published in the March 1994 issue of the American Mathematical Monthly: "Hypatia and Her Mathematics" by Michael A.B. Deakin.)

Contributed by Jeri Studebaker

I can't put this book down. I've never been able to "get into" books written in the 19th century (or even the first half of the 20th), but this book is different. Despite their slightly different (19th-century) mode of speaking, Kingsley's characters really come alive. You really care about them. You feel you're there in ancient Egypt with them. The narrative moves right along, too, without missing a beat--very fast-paced. For months now I've had about 6 books going at a time (reading them, that is), but I've put them all down for this one. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through this book, but accidentally bumped into this site and wanted to comment (I may never get back here again; I'm not a mathematician, but am extremely interested in Hypatia and paganism).

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Works Similar to Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria by Ki Longfellow
  2. Agora by Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer)
  3. Hypatia by Mac Wellman
  4. Abendland (Occident) by Michael Köhlmeier
  5. The Ishango Bone by Paul Hastings Wilson
  6. A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon by Lennart Hjulström
  7. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  8. Mrs. Einstein by Anna McGrail
  9. Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya by Joan Spicci
  10. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Ratings for Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face:
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:
3/5 (3 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3.67/5 (3 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians,
Topic
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)