"Ghostwriting and Its Contradictions, Or:
This contribution explores ghostwriting as a cultural practice marked by contradictions. It takes as its example the case of Donald J. Trump’s ghostwritten memoir titled Trump: The Art of the Deal from 1987. Following Trump’s announcement to run for the U.S. presidency in 2016, the ghostwriter of his memoir, Tony Schwartz, publicly announced that the book had not been written by Trump but by him instead, thus contradicting Trump’s claim to the authorship of the book. The debate around this disclosure points to one aspect of contradictions discussed in the chapter: the ghostwriter’s act of contradicting the pact between author and ghostwriter according to which the latter remain in the background. The chapter further highlights how the book itself delineates and mobilizes various dialectical contradictions, arguing that the text straddles various contradictory fault lines concerning the relationship between fact and fiction, the in/authenticity of the content of the book, the in/visibility of its ghostwriter, and the power/lessness of both author and ghostwriter in the cultural field. Hence it is argued that the practice of ghostwriting is a paradigmatic case of deploying contradictions as a constitutive element of (American) literature and cultures and their theorization.