Beyond the Subject. Vienna Conference Papers

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

  • Edward Saunders Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography, Vienna
Keywords: Sexual violence, celebrity, scriptedness

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.

Author Biography

Edward Saunders, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography, Vienna
Ed Saunders is a researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography and Deputy Director of the Institute.
Published
2015-05-02
Section
Beyond the Subject. Vienna Conference Papers