Re-dressing Revenants: Anxieties of the Body, the Self, and Desire when the Undead make a Stylish Return
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThis chapter explores the recent vogue for stylish dressing of revenants focusing on the French television series The Returned and the novels Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory and The Returned and its prequels by Jason Mott. Against a back drop of classic zombie figurations of disintegrating flesh and torn clothes these recent texts make a fascinating move in redressing revenants. The redressing refashions the relationship between the flesh and dress, the living, the dead and the undead. In these texts there is a particular focus on childhood and adolescent body anxiety and identity crisis. They explore the relationship of the self and socialisation, the inner private and outer public worlds of the self just at the moment when these are being formed. The chapter will suggest that the clothing here offers up an exploration into the fabric of society and the self. It will be argued that by dressing well the undead are a mirror which reveals the dark other within that has more to do with the socialised self than the figure of disintegrating nightmares. In part because of the stylish codes of dress the returned become not the horrific other but the object of desire. Through the sartorial doubling the texts reveal that identity and desire are Nietzschean by nature: ‘ In the end one loves one’s desire and not what is desired’. Finally it will be argued that it is the ‘clothing’ of the self, which becomes, in Kristevian terms, abject.
CitationHeaton, S. (2016). Re-dressing Revenants: Anxieties of the Body, the Self, and Desire When the Undead Make a Stylish Return. In B. Brodman & J. E. Doan (Eds.), The Supernatural Revamped: From Timeworn Legends to Twenty-First-Century Chic. Maryland, Fairleigh Dickinson Press.
PublisherFairleigh Dickinson University Press
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