But what if we were to venture a different, more literal interpretation of this cultural symptom, which is after all only one of many signs that we are currently witnessing a zombie renaissance? Perhaps the zombie attack on Austen’s novel is telling us that the novel is neither alive nor dead but undead. We are living in a time when what counts as “life” is in significant scientific dispute, and in the heyday of zombie computers and zombie banks, zombie this and zombie that. Why wouldn’t we also be living in a time of zombie literary forms? Whatever their specific emphases and intricacies, all these zombies represent a plague of suspended agency, a sense that the human world is no longer (if it ever was) commanded by individuals making rational decisions. Instead we are witnessing a slow, compulsive, collective movement toward Malthusian self-destruction. Of course all monsters are projections of human fears, but only zombies make this fundamentally social and self-accusatory charge: we the people are the problem we cannot solve. We outnumber ourselves.
more from Mark McGurl at n+1 here.