The Mathematical Magpie by Clifton Fadiman

The Mathematical Magpie by Clifton Fadiman

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The Mathematical Magpie : Being More Stories, Mainly Transcendental, Plus Subsets of Essays, Rhymes, Music, Anecdotes, Epigrams, and Other Prime Oddments and Diversions, Rational or Irrational, All Derived From the Infinite Domain of Mathematics by Clifton Fadiman

New York : Simon and Schuster, 1962. First Printing. Hardcover. 300 pages ; 25 cm. $4.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Address rubber stamped on front free endpaper. No markings elsewhere. Binding is firm.

EVEN MORE varied than the widely enjoyed FANTASIA MATHEMATICA, this is Clifton Fadiman's second anthology of stories, cartoons, essays, rhymes, music, anecdotes, epigrams and other oddments to amuse and delight mathematicians and amateurs alike.

It is a book which will appeal to all levels of minds — mathematicians, science-fiction readers and just ordinary literate folk. Divided into five sections, the book has eighty-four selections from short-story writers, humorists, essayists, novelists, poets, composers, aphorists, and even a Monsignor.

The first section is A Set of Imaginaries, comprising ten science-fiction stories, each based on some mathematical concept. The second, called Comic Sections, and the third, Irregular Figures, are made up of stories or fables in which the central figure is something of a mathematical oddball. The last two sections are Simple Harmonic Motions, offering musical selections with a mathematical base, and Dividends and Remainders, a collection of apothegms, anecdotes, poems, limericks, and other miscellaneous material.

If you enjoy making 2 plus 2 equal 4 or E equal MC2—and even if you don't— THE MATHEMATICAL MAGPIE will entertain you for hours on end.


Clifton Fadiman's reputation as essayist, critic, anthologist and radio and television personality has long been established. For over twenty years he has been one of the judges of the Book-of-the-Month Club. His anthologies, Reading I've Liked, The American Treasury, and Fantasia Mathematica, are known to many readers, as are his books of essays, Party of One (also the title of his regular department in Holiday Magazine) and Any Number Can Play.
One of his outstanding recent successes is his guide to the great books of the Western world, The Lifetime Reading Plan. Mr. Fadiman is on the board of editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and also on the advisory board of Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc.

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