Celebrity, Scriptedness and Alleged Sexual Violence in Ghost-Written Autobiographies by Julian Assange and Samantha Geimer

Edward Saunders

Abstract


This article explores issues relating to the way scripts of sexual violence are employed or rejected in auto/biographical writing. It addresses ghost-written autobiographical responses to two famously unresolved cases of alleged male–female rape: those of Julian Assange and Roman Polanski. In both cases, the alleged perpetrator was a famous man and the allegation of rape has not conclusively been proven in court. The article looks at rape as a narratological problem beyond the definition or symbolic meaning of the crime, and contrasts the narration from the perspective of an alleged perpetrator (Assange) with that of a victim (Samantha Geimer), addressing the way the act of sexual violence becomes a point of orientation in the lives of both – perhaps disproportionately so. In both cases, the management of the autobiographical account through the use of ghost-writers focuses attention on the constructed nature of the life narrative. In cases relating to famous men, reflecting the impact of media reporting is a necessary counterpart to the consideration of the auto/biographical text.

 

This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on 7 July 2014 and published on 2 May 2015.


Keywords


Sexual violence; celebrity; scriptedness

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5463/ejlw.4.159

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European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.