Cannibals and Travel Logs | Pistoian Cleanliness and Urban Hygiene in Medieval Europe | Italian Zombie Films

I.

Traveling Anthropophagy: the Depiction of Cannibalism in Modern Travel Writing, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

José M. H. Gutiérrez Journal of World History

“Travel writing had a significant impact on the way cannibalism was to be interpreted and diffused from the sixteenth century onwards. By analyzing how much our current understanding of anthropophagy owes to the discourse of travel writing and the simultaneous interaction between concept and medium, a better understanding of its implications in philosophical, political and scientific discourse can be perceived. It also elaborates on how we built self-identification through the uses of fears and cultural stereotypes. A quick glance at the structure of travel writing helps conceptualize how the encounter with Native Americans by Christopher Columbus transformed the Western perceptions of cannibalism and determined relations with other peoples in the following centuries, from Polynesians to Africans…”

II.

The Path to Pistoia: Urban Hygiene Before the Black Death

Guy Geltner Past & Present

“…The demands of a new urban metabolism, evident from the twelfth century, prompted numerous cities, including Pistoia, to develop preventative health programmes in anticipation of and in response to diverse threats. The latter certainly included famine, floods, pestilence and war, but Pistoians and others were no less concerned by routine matters such as burials, food quality, travel and work safety, artisanal pollution and domestic waste disposal. All of these were recognized as impacting people’s health, based on the medical and natural-philosophical theories prevalent at the time, and their management took into consideration not only climactic conditions and multi-species behaviour, but also the smooth functioning of sites such as wells, canals, bridges and roads…”

III.

“Living Hell”: Fulci’s Eternal City

Daniel V. Sacco Studies in the Fantastic

“The commercial success of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) in Italy, and the contribution of famed Italian filmmaker Dario Argento as producer to its sequel Dawn of the Dead (1978) (recut and released as Zombi in Italy), kick-started an enduring cycle of zombie films in the passionately celebrated, yet equally oft-derided tradition of Italian horror… This essay outlines how [Julio] Fulci’s 1980 masterpiece City of The Living Dead resists (by design) the social and cultural commentary typically ascribed to American zombie films. City of the Living Dead is a stark vision of “Hell on Earth”, one marked by a rejection of the rational, a reverence of the scriptural, and recognition of the horror film as a form of apocalyptic religious vision.”

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