a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
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This short story, published in the literary magazine Crazyhorse concerns the boring and lonely Mr. Digby who was the downstairs neighbor of Karovsky, the brilliant (but of course, seriously insane) mathematician whose funeral is the venue. Digby looks through Karovsky's things, taking pages of equations and photos of Karovsky and his beautiful girlfriend Ariel, and winds up being responsible for Karovsky's exgirlfriend from Romania who speaks to him in French. The point of the story has to do with life and how it can be lived heroically. The story is well written and this point comes across well. However, my interest here is only in the subtext: once again we learn from literature that mathematicians are schizophrenic and suicidal. I believe the implication of the story is that Karovsky committed suicide after Wiles' proof of FLT out of disappointment that he did not prove it himself. (Just for the record, I feel that the stereotype relating mathematics and insanity is unjustified. It is perpetuated by a few well known examples of mathematicians who also happened to have mental disorders, and tons and tons of fictional mathematicians who do as well. Please do keep in mind that the vast majority of mathematicians are as sane as anyone else. Moreover, I am not aware of any suicides inspired by the 1994 proof of Fermat's Last Theorem!)

More information about this work can be found at crazyhorse.cofc.edu. 
(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.) 

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)