Ghost Writing in Contemporary American Fiction

dcGhost Writing in Contemporary American Fiction by Dr David Coughlan (School of Culture and Communication) Palgrave Macmillan (2016).

The book is about the appearance of the spectre in American twentieth and twenty-first-century fiction. Its innovative structure has chapters on the work of five major US authors—Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, and Philip Roth—alternating with shorter sections detailing the significance of the ghost in the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, author of Specters of Marx.

Together, these accounts of phantoms, shadows, haunts, spirit, the death sentence, and hospitality provide a compelling theoretical context in which to read contemporary US literature. Ghost Writing in Contemporary American Fiction argues at every stage that there is no self, no relation to the other, no love, no home, no mourning, no future, no trace of life without the return of the specter or, that is, without ghost writing.

Prof. David Brauner, University of Reading, has welcomed the book as “a crucial contribution to the ‘spectral turn’ in critical theory and a compelling study of some of the key figures in contemporary American fiction,” while Prof. Julian Wolfreys, University of Portsmouth, describes is as “an impressively original, provocative study [which] will move the study of the modern and contemporary American novel forward significantly, and in unexpected ways.”


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