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This chapter presents a survey of the many and various elements of the modern higher-dimensional theory of quasiconformal mappings and their wide and varied application. It is unified (and limited) by the theme of the author’s interests. Thus we will discuss the basic theory as it developed in the 1960s in the early work of F. W. Gehring and Yu G. Reshetnyak and subsequently explore the connections with geometric function theory, nonlinear partial differential equations, differential and geometric topology and dynamics as they ensued over the following decades. We give few proofs as we try to outline the major results of the area and current research themes. We do not strive to present these results in maximal generality, as to achieve this considerable technical knowledge would be necessary of the reader. We have tried to give a feel of where the area is, what are the central ideas and problems and where are the major current interactions with researchers in other areas. We have also added a bit of history here and there. We have not been able to cover the many recent advances generalising the theory to mappings of finite distortion and to degenerate elliptic Beltrami systems which connects the theory closely with the calculus of variations and nonlinear elasticity, nonlinear Hodge theory and related areas, although the reader may see shadows of this aspect in parts.
In the sequel (with Bruce Palka) we will give a more detailed account of the basic techniques and how they are used with a view to providing tools for researchers who may come in contact with higher-dimensional quasiconformal mappings from their own area.