Reading the Great American Zombie

The Living Dead in Literature

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About the Book

Challenging the human understanding of life and death, the zombie figure represents a fragmentation of personhood. From its earliest appearances in literature, the zombie characterized a human being that was no longer an indivisible whole, embodying the ontological debate over which elements of personhood are most uniquely human.
Through its literary evolution, the zombie’s missing element gradually approached a finer definition, as narratives moved beyond highlighting metaphysically opaque concepts like “soul” or “will.” Studying over a century of American literary history, this book explores how zombies translate cultural concepts and definitions of personhood. Chapters detail how literary zombies have long presented narratives of American cultural self-examination.

About the Author(s)

T. May Stone teaches literature and composition classes at Eastern New Mexico University–Roswell.

Kyle William Bishop is an associate professor of English and film studies and serves as the Honors Program director at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. He has presented and published on a number of zombie-related texts and has authored two other monographs with McFarland.

Bibliographic Details

T. May Stone. Series Editor Kyle William Bishop
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7731-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4826-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
A Note on Terminology viii
Preface: I, Millennial 1
Introduction: Zombie Ontology 7
One. From the Islands to the States, from the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth 33
Two. Zombies in Pulp Fiction: Scary Stories to Tell Scientific Materialists 53
Three. Estrangement Among the “Community of Self” 76
Four. Tech Zombies: Zombified Art, Zombified Masses 98
Five. Present Absence: Reality and the Future of Humanity 127
Conclusion. Zombies Never Die: A Look at Some of the Most Persistent Zombies 152
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 189
Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

“With Reading the Great American Zombie, Stone dives deep into the surprisingly complex history of zombie literature, unearthing some forgotten or overlooked texts and stories and asking us to reconsider what the ‘living dead’ are or can be.”—Kyle Bishop, author of The Written Dead: Essays on the Literary Zombie