January 30, 2009

Everything's Better with Zombies

Via John Holbo, a, uh, interesting reinterpretation of the classics:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen's classic novel to new legions of fans.
This reminds me that there was a glaring deficiency in my undergraduate education; namely, not enough about zombies. Not just in English literature, but throughout the whole Western canon. For example:
  • The Republic and Zombies: Holed up in a safehouse during a zombie infestation of Athens, Socrates discusses with Glaucon and Adeimantus the nature of justice, the well-ordered soul, and the best-ruled society -- preferably one without the undead. Things get off to a rocky start, however, when Thrasymachus attacks old Cephalus and starts eating his brains.
  • On the Nature of Things and Zombies: Lucretius' epic work on the atomistic philosophy of the Epicureans sweetens the bitter pill of living in a world without gods -- but with zombies -- with the honey of poetry. By breaking the bonds of religion, and by building up adequate fortifications against the zombie hordes, one can live a life of pleasure and understanding. Fun fact: the "swerve" of the atoms that enables us to have free will? It also reanimates the dead. Reality's a bitch.
  • Aristotle's On Zombies: This newly-discovered treatise shows the Philosopher trying to pin down the precise nature of this undead creature. How can something be dead and still have a source within itself of motion and rest? There must be a separate quality, a being-at-work-staying-itself-hungering-for-brains, that enables the zombie to operate. Sadly, the part where Aristotle discusses the best way to defend against zombies remains lost.
  • The Iliad and Zombies: Basically, every place where Homer kills off a soldier, replace "darkness covered his eyes" with "darkness covered his eyes -- and then he sprang up, bared his teeth, and pounced on an unsuspecting Achaean." It scans better in the original Greek.
And that's just the classical era!

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