The heroic age of non-euclidean geometry is passed. It is long since the days when Lobachevsky timidly referred to his system as an 'imaginary geometry', and the new subject appeared as a dangerous lapse from the orthodox doctrine of Euclid. The attempt to prove the parallel axiom by means of the other usual assumptions is now seldom undertaken, and those who do undertake it, are considered in the class with circle-squarers and searchers for perpetual motion - sad by-products of the creative activity of modern science.
In this, as in all other changes, there is subject both for rejoicing and regret. It is a satisfaction to a writer on non-euclidean geometry that he may proceed at once to his subject, without feeling any need to justify himself, or, at least, any more need than any other who adds to our supply of books. On the other hand, he will miss the stimulus that comes to one who feels that he is bringing out something entirely now and strange. The subject of non-euclidean geometry is, to the mathematician, quite as well established as any other branch of mathematical science; and, in fact, it may lay claim to a decidedly more solid basis than some branches, such as the theory of assemblages, or the analysis situs.
Recent books dealing with non-euclidean geometry fall naturally into two classes.