Guest Blog: The Finest and the Third Worst – Aesthetics and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I enjoyed this post so much I had to share it with my readers. All the questions arising from attempting a definitive answer to “What is art?” are, I suspect, in one way more interesting than what we might decide upon if we ever could agree on an answer to the original question.

Interesting Literature

By Nicholas Joll

The Hitchhiker books by Douglas Adams are interesting literature. At any rate, they are interesting books. One way in which they are interesting is this: they raise the question of what literature, and art in general, is in the first place. This short(ish), three-part essay uses Hitchhiker’s to consider such questions – those questions being, as I shall explain, questions of aesthetics.

I

I begin by presenting two pieces of Hitchhiker material. The first owes to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself, which is to say, to the first Hitchhiker book, and concerns Vogon poetry. The second piece of material also concerns poetry but occurs in the third Hitchhiker book, namely, Life, the Universe and Everything.

According to Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Vogon poetry is ‘the third worst in the Universe’. We come across that poetry in the form of…

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