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Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh
50 George Square, EH8 9LH Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The Scandinavian Studies Research Seminar Series continues on 20 October with a joint event with CMRS, when we will be joined by Dr Clare Downham (University of Liverpool).
The title of Clare's talk is 'Viking Zombies'.
Abstract: The terms vampire and zombie entered into the English language quite late (the eighteenth and late nineteenth centuries, respectively) but fear of revenants — i.e. the dead rising again — can be traced from ancient times. Fear of death is of course natural and universal. Across world cultures, beliefs in immortal souls have spawned fears that a spirit could remain trapped in a body, causing it to reanimate. Tales of the undead may serve as indicators of social tensions and trauma. Historically, blame for the misfortunes of the living could be laid on the unquiet souls of the departed. Nowadays, restless souls still serve as metaphors for social concerns. This paper explores evidence of viking burial rituals relating to fears of revenants, a rich stream of medieval Icelandic literature, and links to Scottish folklore. Given the number of amateur zombie films circulating online, I am hoping someone will be inspired to add in vikings for a future Youtube blockbuster!
Join us in LG.06 (underneath David Hume Tower) at 5.15 pm on 20 October. There will a glass of wine to follow.