The Mathematician's Apology


G.H. Hardy was one of this century's finest mathematical thinkers, renowned amongst his contemporaries as a real mathematician ... the purest of the pure'. He was also, as C. P. Snow recounts in his Foreword, 'unorthodox, eccentric, radical, ready to talk about anything'. This 'apology', written poignantly as his mathematical powers were declining, offers a brilliant and engaging account of mathematics as very much more than a science; when it was first published, Graham Greene hailed it alongside Henry James's notebooks as 'the best account of what it was like to be a creative artist.

C.P. Snow's foreword gives sympathetic and witty insights into Hardy's life, with its rich store of anecdotes concerning his collaboration with the brilliant Indian mathematician Ramanujan, his aphorisms and idiosyncrasies, and his passion for cricket.

'Generations of readers, both in and out of mathematics, have read Apology as one of the most eloquent Descriptions in our language of the pleasure and power of mathematical invention.'

The New Yorker

'Great mathematicians rarely write about themselves or about their work, and few of them would have the literary gift to compose an essay of such charm, candour and insight ... a manifesto for mathematics itself.'

The Guardian

'Hardy's book is carefully reasoned, beautifully written and very stimulating; ... it can profitably be read by anyone.'

New Scientist


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