Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature
‘A hugely entertaining and well-written tour of the links between math and literature. Hart’s lightness of touch and passion for both subjects make this book a delight to read. Bookworms and number-lovers alike will discover much they didn’t know about the creative interplay between stories, structure and sums.’ – Alex Bellos
We often think of mathematics and literature as polar opposites. But what if, instead, they were fundamentally linked? In this insightful, laugh-out-loud funny book, Once Upon a Prime, Professor Sarah Hart shows us the myriad connections between maths and literature, and how understanding those connections can enhance our enjoyment of both.
Did you know, for instance, that Moby-Dick is full of sophisticated geometry? That James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novels are deliberately checkered with mathematical references? That George Eliot was obsessed with statistics? That Jurassic Park is undergirded by fractal patterns? That Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote mathematician characters?
From sonnets to fairytales to experimental French literature, Once Upon a Prime takes us on an unforgettable journey through the books we thought we knew, revealing new layers of beauty and wonder. Professor Hart shows how maths and literature are complementary parts of the same quest, to understand human life and our place in the universe.
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