Charles Howard Hinton was a controversial mathematician working in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Howard Hinton, as he was known, studied and wrote about "the fourth dimension" and is best known for having coined the term "tesseract". Some of the ideas he promoted are now so standard that they seem trivial (like considering three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension together as a combined four-dimensional space-time), making it difficult to remember that they really were new ideas at the time. He viewed these mathematical concepts as somehow being tied to questions of morality, particularly his father's polygamous religious ideology. Howard Hinton himself was found guilty of bigamy and so lived in Japan and the United States while exiled from his home country of England. Among Hinton's writings promoting the concept of higher dimensions are the short story "An Episode of Flatland", which is included in this database. In fact, I would argue that he had a greater influence on mathematical *fiction* than on the field of mathematics itself.
Based on what I have read about it online,
Blacklock's book "Hinton" is a work of historical fiction about Howard Hinton taking place during his time in Japan. The novel mentions, but apparently does not explain, some of his ideas about higher dimensions, and focuses on his relationship with his first wife (the daughter of mathematician George Boole) and his children.
I thank Allan Goldberg for bringing it to my attention and look forward to being able to say more about it here once I have had a chance to read it for myself. |