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Abstract

In her article "Roth's Humorous Art of Ghost Writing" Paule Lévy analyses Philip Roth's Exit Ghost, the last novel featuring Nathan Zuckerman, in which Roth reassesses his favorite alter ego's itinerary while exploring the troubled relation between writing and aging. Lévy considers Exit Ghost as an ironic sequel to The Ghost Writer and posits that in the light of Derrida's theories of writing and "hauntology" the central motifs of ghosts and "spectrality" in the novel are a means for Roth to reflect anew on the ambiguous relation between autobiography and fiction. Lévy asks whether Exit Ghost should be read as an expression of Roth's pessimism, as a "ghost novel" predicting its own disappearance as a cultural artifact, or whether it should be read as an assertion of Roth's indefatigable vitality and faith in the priceless value of art. Lévy's study is a textual analysis and a close examination of the dialogic links between the storyline and its haunting multifarious intertext—in particular Joseph Conrad's partly autobiographical novel The Shadow Line, a central reference in Exit Ghost.