a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Odd Women (1893)
George Gissing

This is one of many Victorian novels about romance, gender and class, but it has aged well. Among the several relationships it considers is one between a mathematician, the author of "A Treatise on Trilinear Co-ordinates", and a woman he has waited 17 years to marry. Although the purpose of its inclusion in the book is probably to emphasize the effect that marriage has on men and women, it also serves to illustrate the stereotype of the mathematician. Although he normally would work on mathematics simply for his love of the subject, marriage has him formulating a plan to make money from selling a whole series of such books. His marriage to a school teacher who brags about how little she knows of mathematics helps to rid him of some of his less acceptable habits. There is also discussion of how his love of math and science affects his belief and interest in religion.

The mathematical aspects make up only a tiny proportion of the book, and so it is not really worth reading if this is your only interest. But, if the perception of gender roles in the 19th century interests you, you may be interested in reading this book which is now available free online.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to The Odd Women
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  2. Account Unsettled [Crime Impuni] by Georges Simenon
  3. A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin
  4. The Wild Numbers by Philibert Schogt
  5. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw
  7. 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein
  8. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  9. Royal Highness (K├Ânigliche Hoheit) by Thomas Mann
  10. I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
Ratings for The Odd Women:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)

MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Romance, Religion,

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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)