Scott G. Bruce - "The Penguin Book of the Undead"

Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Scott G. Bruce discusses The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters.

At the Co-op


About the book: 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 premodern 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 barking dogs, moaning phantoms haunting deserted ruins, zombies with pestilential breath—the descriptions found in The Penguin Book of the Undead 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?

About the editor: Scott G. Bruce is an expert on medieval monasticism, a professor of medieval history, and the director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He put himself through college working as a gravedigger. His expertise and his enthusiasm for connections between his work and popular culture make him an ideal interview for any Halloween pieces you may be planning.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637