Lucy Swanson’s The Zombie in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction (Liverpool University Press, 1 March 2023) explores the significance of the zombie as a metaphor and historical sign. [For original post, see The Zombie in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction.]
Description: Believed to have emerged in the French Caribbean based on African spirit beliefs, the zombie represents not merely the walking dead, but also a walking embodiment of the region’s history and culture. In Haiti today, the zombie serves as an enduring memory of enslavement: it is defined as a reanimated body robbed of part of its soul, forced to work in sugarcane fields. In Martinique and Guadeloupe, the zombie takes the form of a shape-shifting evil spirit, and represents the dangers posed to the maroon or ‘freedom runner.’ The Zombie in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction is the first book-length study of the literary zombie in recent fiction from the region. It examines how this symbol of the enslaved (and of the evil spirits that threaten them) is used to represent and critique new socio-political situations in the Caribbean. It also offers a comprehensive and focused examination of the ways contemporary authors from Haiti and the French Antilles contribute to the global zombie imaginary, identifying four ‘avatars’ of the zombie-the slave, the trauma victim, the horde, and the popular zombie-that appear frequently in fiction and anthropology, exploring how works by celebrated and popular authors reimagine these archetypes.
Lucy Swanson is Assistant Professor of French & Francophone Studies at the University of Arizona.
For more information, see https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-zombie-in-contemporary-french-caribbean-fiction-9781802077995