The Penguin Book of the Undead
An anthology edited by Scott G. Bruce
Recorded at Recorded Books Studios, NYC
Directed by Kathy Gormley
Read by T. Ryder Smith
Ghost stories, as we commonly conceive of them, did not come into being until the late 19th century, when the Victorians popularized the idea of the haunting: a soul reaching from the beyond to expose secrets, avenge an untimely death, or otherwise meddle in the realm of the living to mysterious or malevolent ends. But ghosts have been fixtures of our collective imagination as potent cultural forces since pre-modern times.
Spanning from the Hebrew scriptures to the Roman Empire, the Scandinavian sagas to medieval Europe, the Protestant Reformation to the Renaissance, "The Penguin Book of the Undead" mines historical narratives, theological texts, and personal letters to chart our relationship with the spirit world over fifteen hundred years, showing the evolution in our thinking about the afterlife and the supernatural, as well as the consistencies.
Roving hordes of dead warriors, corpses trailed by packs of barking dogs, moaning phantoms haunting deserted ruins, evil spirits emerging from burning carcasses in the form of crows, and zombies with pestilential breath — the descriptions found in this volume have persisted in the popular imagination to this day. The accounts in this expertly curated volume connect us to our ancient ancestors through stories that ask the most universal, intimately human question of all: What happens after we die?
- Publisher's summary