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Jennifer Rutherford

Zombies by Jennifer Rutherford

December 2014, no. 367

In recent times the figure of the zombie has pervaded modern culture. Despite their origins as macabre creatures from Haitian myths, and then their modern cultural origins in B-grade horror films, zombies have established themselves as an important element of modern mythology. Jennifer Rutherford’s book aims to explore the reasons for our society’s obsession with these decaying entities.

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This Gauche intruder into the Australian book scene is sure to annoy many readers. Their annoyance, even disgust, will be various and peculiar to their own preoccupation with what they consider a good read, good literary criticism, good Australian cultural identity. Jennifer Rutherford presents us with a passionate, scholarly, rude and uncompromising discussion about Australian culture, reading identity at both individual and collective levels. She is a Lacanian (sure to annoy some), an unapologetic deployer of psychoanalytic insights into Australian identity fantasies; she is an astute and forthright literary and cultural critic (critics past and present, quake!) who offers a range of non-partisan and theoretically consistent readings of the novels of Catherine Spence, Rosa Praed, Henry Handel Richardson, George Johnston, Tim Winton, David Malouf, and Patrick White; and she is a canny, amusing, serpent-toothed reader of the broader Australian culture, from Hansonism, to the streets and suburbs of Canberra, to contemporary academia. She bites hard.

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