This highly original work, written by the creators of the multivariable theory of automorphisms, is a rich tapestry of themes and concepts, and a comprehensive treatment of an important area of mathematics. From Poincare's work on biholomorphic inequivalence in 1906, it became clear that the structures of the automorphism groups of domains in multi-dimensional complex space are more complex, and more interesting, than those in the complex plane. The authors build on this theme and trace the evolution of the classical theory to the modern theory, which is today a cornerstone of geometric analysis.
The text begins with an introductory chapter on the concept of an automorphism group in which the theory in one complex variable is presented, emphasizing the classical ideas of Schwarz, Jobe, and others. Also examined is the theory of planar domains of multiple but finite connectivity, principally develped by Heins in the 1940s and 1950s. The authors treatment progresses to the theory in several complex variables with the so-called "e;classical domains"e; of E. Cartan, the Siegel domains of type I, II, and III, and the more modern theory of automorphism groups of smoothly bounded domains."e;