Abstract

This essay points to the unforeseen consequences of the "argument from design" which insisted on the symmetry and form of the material creation including human beings themselves. Because such a theory failed to account for the asymmetrical, the monstrous, and the physically deformed, observers could only conclude that such creatures were accidents, anomalies or the products of moral transgression. The general conclusion that the deformed were "sports of nature," literally God's jokes, seemingly authorized the ridicule of the disabled like Alexander Pope or William Hay, writers who felt the sting of rejection even as they endorsed the ideology of form from which such ridicule arose.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 91-114
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-18
Open Access
No
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