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Twenty-First-Century GothicAn Edinburgh Companion$
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Maisha Wester and Xavier Aldana Reyes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474440929

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474440929.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Contemporary Zombies

Contemporary Zombies

(p.89) Chapter 6 Contemporary Zombies
Twenty-First-Century Gothic

Xavier Aldana Reyes

Edinburgh University Press

Although traditionally only on the fringes of the Gothic, zombies have dominated the cultural landscape of the twenty-first century thanks to their metaphorical richness. This chapter identifies two main types of zombie narratives that have predominated in film and literature since 2002: viral zombie narratives and sympathetic zombie ones. Analysing the former in texts like World War Z (2006), The Girl with All the Gifts (2014), Z Nation (2014–18), Fear the Walking Dead (2015–) and Feed (2010) allows me to show how the aggressive virulence of new zombies is connected to an inherently pessimistic view of present power structures. I then consider the conscious and humanised zombies in texts like Wasting Away (2007), Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament (2009), Warm Bodies (2013), In the Flesh (2013–14) and Generation Dead (2008) in order to explore how this monster stands in for the social repression of the gendered, sexual or disabled Other.

Keywords:   zombies, monstrosity, sympathetic monster, virulence, contagion, subjectivity, alterity, horror literature, horror film

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