Jean Rhys’s Smile, Please: An Unfinished Autobiography was not actually written by Rhys, but by novelist David Plante in an act that can only be characterized as ghostwriting. This essay theorizes ghostwriting in the context of autobiography and life writing, and shows how the ghostwriting process results in contested layers of written and spoken texts. Rhys resists the ghostwriter’s displacement of her spoken text by quoting her own written texts verbatim throughout Smile, Please, thus in effect auto-ghostwriting her autobiography.
This article examines how the war correspondent Thomas Goltz negotiates the representation of war and conflict, and the exigencies of his profession as a journalist, through diary. Particularly in Chechnya Diary, the second in his “Caucasus Trilogy,” Goltz uses the diary to focus on his profession and to make particular ethical and moral dilemmas visible. For Goltz, diary is a political tool, but the problem is it is also a personal device.
In 2001, the Boston Globe reported that Joseph Ellis, an award-winning presidential biographer and professor of history, had lied to students and reporters about having served in the Vietnam War. This essay presents the Ellis scandal as an example of how traumatic events serve as vehicles for national affiliation, and of how the concept of trauma misrepresents our relationship to history.