"Romancing the corpse": an examination of the representations of zombies in young adult paranormal romance
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 02:55 by Nyssa L. Harkness
Zombies have long been understood by critical theorists as representing social anxieties and problems - including colonialism, war and capitalism. A stable identifiable figure since Romero's Of the dead series, recent romantic texts have positioned the zombie as a sympathetic lover. This thesis asks two main questions about this shift in the genre and representation. Firstly, how does the zombie in young adult fiction represent ideology and identity; secondly, is this new representation an opportunity to stage a broader understanding of diversity?This thesis seeks to understand the change in the zombie from monster to romantic hero. Romancing the Corpse will focus on four central texts which foreground the zombie as romantic partner: I Kissed A Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, Dearly Departed by Lia Habel and Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. Firstly, the zombie in young adult paranormal romance is argued as representing the non-citizen, using Agamben's work on bare life and the state of exception. Using literary analysis, it will then examine how the trope of the zombie has changed with the move in genre from horror to romance. Finally, the thesis interrogates the implications of these works' engagement with civil rights and social justice questions through the figure of the zombie, also drawing on audience research approaches.