Portrayal of Mathematicians in Fictional Works
Creators:Dotson, Daniel S.
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Publisher:Purdue University Press
Citation:Daniel Dotson, "Portrayal of Mathematicians in Fictional Works," CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 8, no. 4 (2006). DOI: 10.7771/1481-4374.1324
In his article "Portrayal of Mathematicians in Fictional Works," Daniel Dotson explores how people with mathematical abilities -- including mathematicians, mathematics teachers, mathematically-inclined youths, cryptographers, and more -- are portrayed in novels, films, television programs, and a play. A summary table of the characters gives a short description of each of them, the title of the work in which they appeared, and the format of the work. Characters were analyzed to see if they possessed any of ten personality traits: obsessive, having major mental health problems, withdrawn, brave, timid, socially inept, arrogant, uses math to escape reality, out of touch, and stubborn. Dobson describes in his paper each personality trait, lists the characters with that trait, and several characters are described with further details as to how that character manifested that personality trait during the course of the work in which they appeared. Male and female characters are compared to determine if one gender received a better portrayal (i.e., fewer negative personality traits) than another. In addition, characters possessing several personality traits are described in detail as well as the few characters not possessing any of the traits.