The undead

Vampires and zombies

Authored by: John Edgar Browning

The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138852075
eBook ISBN: 9781315723747
Adobe ISBN:


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With the exception of ghosts or spirits, no two supernatural figures are so intrinsically tied to death than the vampire and zombie. They are, by their very nature and design, products of death itself and humankind’s fear of, or inability to understand, death; they are death incarnate. Historically, the vampire and zombie proper are also relatively close in age, although what might be understood as vampires or vampiric figures – that is to say figures most closely approximating vampirism (i.e., thirsting for human blood or energy) – may well pre-date written human history. This chapter shall concern itself primarily with the vampire and zombie beginning in and following the eighteenth century, tracing their distinct yet overlapping developmental lineages.

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