The Ugly Truth: Negative Aesthetics and Environment

Emily Brady

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


In autumn 2009, BBC television ran a natural history series, ‘Last Chance to See’, with Stephen Fry and wildlife writer and photographer, Mark Carwardine, searching out endangered species. In one episode they retraced the steps Carwardine had taken in the 1980s with Douglas Adams, when they visited Madagascar in search of the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur. Fry and Carwardine visited an aye-aye in captivity, and upon first setting eyes on the creature they found it rather ugly. After spending an hour or so in its company, Fry said he was completely ‘under its spell’. A subsequent encounter with an aye-aye in the wild supported Fry's judgment of ugliness and fascination for the creature: ‘The aye-aye is beguiling, certainly bizarre, for some even a little revolting. And I say, long may it continue being so.’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy and the Environment
EditorsAnthony O'Hear
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781107696075
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Publication series

NameRoyal Institute of Philosophy Supplements


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