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The Chair of Philanthromathematics (1908)
O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)

Contributed by "William E. Emba"

Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker, con men in the O. Henry stories collected in this volume, are a bit uncomfortable after scoring a really big scam. So they retreat to the middle of nowhere, go into philanthropy, and found a free university in the middle of nowhere, with a faculty of six professors hired by mail order. They begin instant heroes, and live the high life for a while.

But the money is running low. Salvation comes in the form of a mysterious seventh professor, James Darnley McCorkle, chair of mathematics, who knows the right kind of mathematics.

First reprinted in THE GENTLE GRAFTER (1908)

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to The Chair of Philanthromathematics
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Tachypomp by Edward Page Mitchell
  2. Inquirendo Island by Hudor Genone
  3. The Devil and the Lady by Alfred Tennyson
  4. The Romance of Mathematics: Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College... by Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  5. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
  7. Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) by Jules Verne
  8. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  9. Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
  10. Paul Bunyan versus the Conveyor Belt by William Hazlett Upson
Ratings for The Chair of Philanthromathematics:
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Mathematical Content:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)