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A Fable for Moderns (1955)
Lord Dunsany

A bank employee becomes bored with the restrictions of arithmetic and decides to let his mathematical computations enjoy the freedom of "modern" poets and artists. Although he loses his job at the bank, he find a following a neo-arithmeticians and fame writing modern verse.

I don't actually know when this was published originally. This story is more of a gibe against modern art and beatnik poetry (the presence of the beat poem in it is the only thing that helps me to date this story to the 1950's, since I do not know when it was first published) than it is about mathematics. The author, Edward Plunkett, who published under his title as Lord Dunsany, must have written this towards the end of his life and it was republished in the collection Ghosts of the Heaviside Layer.

I received a copy of this story in an anonymous, manila envelope...but I can only assume that it was sent by Sandro Caparrini, who has a skill for finding gems like this. Thank you, Sandro!

More information about this work can be found at .
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Works Similar to A Fable for Moderns
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Imaginary Number by Yizhak Oren
  2. The Cambist and Lord Iron by Daniel Abraham
  3. The Bank by Robert Connolly
  4. A New Golden Age by Rudy Rucker
  5. The Unwilling Professor by Arthur Porges
  6. Freemium by Louis Evans
  7. Numbers in the Dark (La notte dei numeri) by Italo Calvino
  8. The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine by Greg Egan
  9. Inquirendo Island by Hudor Genone
  10. Silas P. Cornu's Dry Calculator by Henry Hering
Ratings for A Fable for Moderns:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)

TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Mathematical Finance,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)