26.1 | Elana Gomel

Invasion of the Dead (Languages): Zombie Apocalypse and the End of Narrative

The essay analyzes the narrative and semantic features of the zombie apocalypse in popular culture. It argues that the zombie is a figure for the decoupling of the connection between language and meaning and the loss of what Lyotard called “master narratives.” Rather than yet another apocalyptic narrative, the zombie invasion is an apocalypse of narrative. The link between zombies and language is expressed in such narrative features as repetition, intertextuality, self-reflexivity, and explicit foregrounding of the production and circulation of information. The essay discusses these features in a number of zombie texts, such as Max Brooks’ World War Z (2006) and Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy.