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I found a listing on Google books for a book containing the desired English translation, together with some biographical information on Wessel, and entitled On the Analytical Representation of Direction, but I cannot find any source that actually has a copy of this in stock. Needless to say, I can't find it anywhere else either.

I would very much like to see the language and ideas of the man who first conceptualized the complex plane, as well as whatever else he felt was relevant! Has anyone read this paper? Does anyone see any good reason why it should be so unavailable?

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There is an English translation of the first 10 sections of Wessel's paper in the anthology edited by Henrietta Midonick, The Treasury of Mathematics, volume 2 (Penguin Books 1968) pp.321--329.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great! I'm ordering a copy (just waiting to confirm what you said before I hit the check-mark). $\endgroup$ – j0equ1nn Aug 13 '14 at 18:18
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The book is volume 46, no. 1 of the Danish Academy’s Matematisk-fysiske Meddelelser, and as such is freely available in pdf at University of Southern Denmark.

(The Bibliothèque Nationale also has a French translation.)

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