a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Freud's Megalomania: A Novel (2001)
Israel Rosenfield

Contributed by Michele Benzi

This is an intriguing piece of work, mixing fact with fiction and different styles (from the scientific essay to the diary), probably best understood as an ironic look upon the "Freud wars". Mathematics enters primarily through an imagined encounter between Anna Freud and John von Neumann, in which the latter draws analogies between his Game Theory and some of Freud's psychoanalytic theories. There are also mentions of Borel and Wiener (consistently misspelled as "Weiner", unfortunately). A footnote even discusses the controversy between von Neumann and Borel over the priority in the development of a mathematical theory of games, which appears to be historical, not fictional.

In a letter to the New York Review of Books, the author claims that the book is actually a defense of psychoanalysis, whose role in psychology he sees have having been usurped by game theory.

I have not actually read the novel and thank Michele Benzi of Emory University for bringing it to my attention. However, having read (and strongly disagreed with) the letter I do not think I am inclined to read the book soon.

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Works Similar to Freud's Megalomania: A Novel
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  2. 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein
  3. No Chance by Guy Hasson
  4. Doctor Who: The Turing Test by Paul Leonard
  5. When We Cease to Understand the World [Un Verdor Terrible] by Benjamin Labatut
  6. Shakespeare Predicted it All by Dietmar Dath
  7. Lost in the Math Museum by Colin Adams
  8. Zéro, ou les Cinq vies d'Aemer by Denis Guedj
  9. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  10. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
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GenreHistorical Fiction, Humorous, Didactic,
MotifReal Mathematicians,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)