Probably the best known use of the number 42 is by Douglas Adams as the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything – but it crops up frequently in the works of another famous author.Lewis Carroll (of whom Douglas Adams was an admirer) had a fascination with the number 42 and it makes many appearances throughtout his life and works:
In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the King of Hearts quotes Rule 42 of the Wonderland judicial code: “All persons more than a mile high are to leave the court.” The book also has 42 illustrations, not counting the cover.
“The Hunting of the Snark” Carroll’s famous nonsense poem has many associations with 42:
- The Baker had “forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,/With his name painted clearly on each”. These 42 items of luggage are mistakenly left behind.
- In the preface to the poem Rule 42 of the Naval Code states: “No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm.”