THE ROMANCE OF MATHEMATICS

A jeu d’esprit, a light-hearted display of wit and cleverness, especially in a work of literature.

THE ROMANCE OF MATHEMATICS

P. HAMPSON

The Romance of Mathematics is a 19th century skit, a satirical work of the day that became an Oxford and Cambridge tradition, carried on in the 20th century by Alan Bennett, John Cleese, Peter Cook, and Michael Palin.

The Romance of Mathematics

Published: June, 2015
Paperback: $17.99
Hardcover: $24.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-942146-14-8
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-942146-15-5
Garn Press Imprint: Imagination and the Human Spirit
Category: Women in mathematics; Social commentary; Political science

“You would prevent us from competing with you,” P. Hampson laughs on the page when he writes of the way a Lady Professor of Girtham scolds her male counterparts.

“You would separate yourselves on your island of knowledge, and sink the punt which would bear us over to your privileged shore,” Hampson tells us she writes, “Of all the twaddle – forgive me, male sycophants! – that the world has ever heard, I think the greatest is that which you have talked about female education.”

“Now,” the Lady Professor supposedly writes, “look me straight in the face (no shirking, sir!). Is it not jealousy – green-eyed, false-tongued jealousy – which saps your generous instincts, and makes you talk rubbish and nonsense about the strains, and brains, and ambition, and the like? And if that is not hypocritical, I do not know what is.”

The Romance of Mathematics is a 19th century skit, a satirical work of the day that became an Oxford and Cambridge tradition, carried on in the 20th century by Alan Bennett, John Cleese, Peter Cook, and Michael Palin.

“Peter Hampson Ditchfield’s 19th century commentary on the positioning of women in the field of mathematics is as relevant in the 21st century as it was when he wrote it,” Denny Taylor writes in the preface. “The work has much to offer participants in courses in political science as well as mathematics, and it contains many hot topics for courses on philosophy and education.” The Reverend Bro Ditchfield’s jeu d’esprit skit is an enjoyable romp, once you know he is taking the mick. More seriously, he has done us a great service 140 years hence by bringing to our attention continued prejudice against women as equal to men in the fields of mathematics and science.

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P. Hampson

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“Peter Hampson Ditchfield’s 19th century commentary on the positioning of women in the field of mathematics is as relevant in the 21st century as it was when he wrote it,” Denny Taylor writes in the preface. “The work has much to offer participants in courses in political science as well as mathematics, and it contains many hot topics for courses on philosophy and education.”

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