MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

...
Confusions of Young Torless (1906)
Robert Musil
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
...

Contributed by John L. Bell, University of Western Ontario

A semi-autobiographical novel set in a military academy in a desolate corner of the Austro-Hungarian empire, is the story of the intellectual awakening of an intelligent adolescent, and contains several passages on mathematics (and philosophy), notably a remarkably penetrating discussion of the meaning of imaginary numbers.

Contributed by Austin

Young Törless was adapted into a movie, directed by Volker Schlöndorff (who also adapted The Tin Drum).

Contributed by Herbert Huber

Confusions of Young Torless is not only about irrational numbers but also about parallels. In the beginning Musil describes the tracks of the railroad line not as one may expect (and as it for instance Gerhart Hauptmann does it in "Bahnwärter Thile") as converging at the horizon. Musil tells the reader the tracks will never meet. Which of course is true but you never see it like that. The thoughts about irrational numbers raises the philosophical question if numbers alltogether are inventions of man kind or if we find them (as we found for instance Australia or the Congo).

Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. Amazon.com logo
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Confusions of Young Torless
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mrs. Einstein by Anna McGrail
  2. Continuums by Robert Carr
  3. Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
  4. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  5. The Art Student's War by Brad Leithauser
  6. The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
  7. The Ore Miner's Wife by Karl Iagnemma
  8. Touch the Water, Touch the Wind by Amos Oz
  9. The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] by Paolo Giordano
  10. Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby
Ratings for Confusions of Young Torless:
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:
2.67/5 (3 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.67/5 (3 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
Motif
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumNovels,

Home All New Browse Search About

Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)