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A Compact History of Infinity

David Foster Wallace (Author)

With an Introduction by Neal Stephenson

Overview | Inside the Book

"A gripping guide to the modern taming of the infinite."—The New York Times. With a new introduction by Neal Stephenson.

Is infinity a valid mathematical property or a meaningless abstraction? David Foster Wallace brings his intellectual ambition and characteristic bravura style to the story of how mathematicians have struggled to understand the infinite, from the ancient Greeks to the nineteenth-century mathematical genius Georg Cantor's counterintuitive discovery that there was more than one kind of infinity. Smart, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding, Wallace's tour de force brings immediate and high-profile recognition to the bizarre and fascinating world of higher mathematics.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33928-4
  • 5.4 × 8 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“” — Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe

“[Wallace] brings to his task a refreshingly conversational style as well as a surprisingly authoritative command of mathematics. . . . A success.” — John Allen Paulos, American Scholar

“Wallace is the perfect parachute buddy for a free fall into the mathematical and metaphysical abyss that is infinity.” — Dennis Lim, Village Voice

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