Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human

Overview


In an age where anxiety pervades our culture, Better Off Dead explores whether the zombie resembles our pre-historic past or acts as a mirror showing our present day foes.

The zombie is ubiquitous in popular culture: from comic books to video games, to internet applications and homemade films, zombies are all around us. Investigating the zombie from an interdisciplinary perspective, with an emphasis on deep analytical engagement with diverse kinds of texts, Better Off Dead ...

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Overview


In an age where anxiety pervades our culture, Better Off Dead explores whether the zombie resembles our pre-historic past or acts as a mirror showing our present day foes.

The zombie is ubiquitous in popular culture: from comic books to video games, to internet applications and homemade films, zombies are all around us. Investigating the zombie from an interdisciplinary perspective, with an emphasis on deep analytical engagement with diverse kinds of texts, Better Off Dead addresses some of the more unlikely venues where zombies are found while providing the reader with a classic overview of the zombie's folkloric and cinematic history.

What has the zombie metaphor meant in the past? Why does it continue to be so prevalent in our culture? Where others have looked at the zombie as an allegory for humanity's inner machinations or claimed the zombie as capitalist critique, this collection seeks to provide an archaeology of the zombie-tracing its lineage from Haiti, mapping its various cultural transformations, and suggesting the post-humanist direction in which the zombie is ultimately heading.

Approaching the zombie from many different points of view, the contributors look across history and across media. Though they represent various theoretical perspectives, the whole makes a cohesive argument: The zombie has not just evolved within narratives; it has evolved in a way that transforms narrative. This collection announces a new post-zombie, even before the boundaries of this rich and mysterious myth have been completely charted.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Original and provocative essays that contribute significantly to the field of zombie studies.-Aviva Briefel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823234479
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Edition description: 3
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 855,631
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Christie is an Assistant Professor at Colorado Technical University.

Sarah Juliet Lauro is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of California, Davis.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Sarah Juliet Lauro Deborah Christie 1

And the Dead Shall Rise Part introduction Kevin Boon 5

1 "They are not men ... they are dead bodies": From Cannibal to Zombie and Back Again Chera Kee 9

2 "We are the mirror of your fears": Haitian Identity and Zombification Franck Degoul (Translated by Elisabeth M. Lore) 24

3 Undead Radio: Zombies and the Living Dead on 1930s and 1940s Radio Drama Richard Hand 39

4 The Zombie as Other: Mortality and the Monstrous in the Post-Nuclear Age Kevin Boon 50

And the Dead Shall Walk Part introduction Deborah Christie 61

5 A Dead New World: Richard Matheson and the Modern Zombie Deborah Christie 67

6 Nuclear Death and Radical Hope in Dawn of the Dead and On the Beach Nick Muntean 81

7 Lucio Fulci and the Decaying Definition of Zombie Narratives Steven Zani Kevin Meaux 98

8 Imitations of Life: Zombies and the Suburban Gothic Bernice Murphy 116

9 All Dark Inside: Dehumanization and Zombification in Postmodern Cinema Sorcha Ní Fhlainn 139

And the Dead Shall Inherit the Earth Part introduction Peter Dendle 159

10 Slacker Bites Back: Sbaun of the Dead Finds New Life for Deadbeats Lynn Pifer 163

11 Zombie Movies and the "Millennial Generation" Peter Dendle 175

12 "Off the page and into your brains!": New Millennium Zombies and the Scourge of Hopeful Apocalypses Margo Collins Elson Bond 187

13 Playing Dead: Zombies Invade Performance Art and Your Neighborhood Sarah Juliet Lauro 205

Afterword: Zombie (R)evolution Sarah Juliet Lauro 231

Notes 237

Selected Bibliography 277

List of Contributors 285

Index 289

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