a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Night and Day (1919)
Virginia Woolf

Contributed by Barbara Fantechi

The protagonist, Katherine Hilbery, is a young woman who (like the author) grows up in a "literary" family; her "job" is to help her mother both in writing a biography of her grandfather, a famous author, and more general in running the household. Secretly she is interested in mathematics and astronomy, and studies them in the night because she knows her family would not approve.

Although there does not appear to be any serious discussion of the mathematics itself in this novel by the famous author Virginia Woolf, the fact that the character has an interest in mathematics is itself important. Professor Fantechi wrote to let me know of this, and to mention that this book was important in her "journey to become a mathematician".

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Works Similar to Night and Day
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Royal Highness (K├Ânigliche Hoheit) by Thomas Mann
  2. Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw
  3. Geometry in the South Pacific by Sylvia Warner
  4. 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein
  5. Space by John Buchan
  6. The Odd Women by George Gissing
  7. Young Archimedes by Aldous Huxley
  8. Account Unsettled [Crime Impuni] by Georges Simenon
  9. The Judge's House by Bram Stoker
  10. The Chair of Philanthromathematics by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
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MotifFemale Mathematicians, Romance,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)