Religious piety and pigs’ brains: the faith of zombies in Burr Steers’s Pride, Prejudice and Zombies

Steve Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a truth universally acknowledged that art has the potential to disturb contemporary pride and historical prejudice. Realizing this truth, however, requires us to locate the literary worlds so artfully created by Jane Austen in relation to the economic realities and colonizing impact of the British Empire around the turn of the nineteenth century.

Consider the scene at Pemberley in which Elizabeth sits with Miss Darcy, Mrs. Hurst, and Miss Bingley in a drawing room. While this scene from Pride and Prejudice can be considered in relation to plot development and character portrayal, it also calls for an economic analysis, attentive to the realites of colonization. Servants offer the women a range of “the finest fruits in season,” “beautiful pyramids of grapes, nectarines, and peaches” (268). While likely to be hot house grown (Lane 146–47), peaches and nectarines originally arrived in England by way of Spanish exploration in the Americas. The fruits at Pemberley, when placed alongside the description of the Bingley family’s fortune as “acquired by trade”, invite the reader to consider the relationship with imperialism, including the interplay of exploration, trade, and military power in the expansion of the British empire. Further, the military camp at Meryton is a reminder of the symbiosis between British economic and military interests. How might the modern reader, aware of the ways in which the British Empire implemented an economic model predicated on slave labor, stolen land, military might, and an unfair trade system, read the romantic drama of Elizabeth and Darcy while remaining sensitive to issues of justice and inequality?...
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalPersuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Jane Austen in popular culture


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