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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. Say Wen by Ellis Parker Butler
  2. The Tachypomp by Edward Page Mitchell
  3. Inquirendo Island by Hudor Genone
  4. The Romance of Mathematics: Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College... by Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  5. The Devil and the Lady by Alfred Tennyson
  6. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  7. Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, The Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
  8. Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) by Jules Verne
  9. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
  10. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
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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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)