1st Edition

Trump and Autobiography Corporate Culture, Political Rhetoric, and Interpretation

By Nicholas K. Mohlmann Copyright 2021
    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    120 Pages
    by Routledge

    The 1970s and 1980s heralded the rise of neoliberalism in United States culture, fundamentally reshaping life and work in the United States. Corporate culture increasingly penetrated other aspects of American life through popular press CEO autobiographies and management books that encouraged individuals to understand their lives in corporate terms. Propelled into the public eye by the publication of 1989’s The Art of the Deal, ostensibly a CEO autobiography, Donald Trump has made a career out of reversing the autobiographical impulse, presenting an image of his life that meets his narrative needs. While many scholars have sought a political precedent for Trump’s rise to power, this book argues that Trump’s aesthetics and life production uniquely primed him for populist political success through their reliance on the tropes of popular corporate culture. Trump and Autobiography contextualizes Trump’s autobiographical works as an extension of the popular corporate culture of the 1980s in order to examine how Trump constructs an image of himself that is indebted to the forms, genres, and mechanisms of corporate speech and narrative. Ultimately, this book suggests that Trump’s appeal and resilience rest in his ability to signify as though he is a corporation, revealing the degree to which corporate culture has reshaped American society’s interpretive processes.

    Chapter One: Scary Beauty: Towards a Trumpian Aesthetics

    Chapter Two: A Genius Purely by Instinct: Simulating Management in The Art of the Deal

    Chapter Three: A Chevrolet in Tokyo: Lee Iacocca, Japanese Management, and Donald Trump’s Surviving at the Top

    Chapter Four: The President Makes All The Difference: Genre, Image, and Becoming a Business Candidate

    Coda: No More Bullshit: Trump Signs Off


    Nicholas K. Mohlmann is assistant professor of English at the University of West Florida. He earned his PhD in literary studies from Purdue University.