I want to look for similar patterns in the writings of my women, to see how they fashion public selves in general and how they render these selves legitimate public speakers in relation to a gender that would seem to exclude that role. Put in marketing terms the questions are
a) what kind of spin do they use to legitimize voice?
b) is it possible to discern a set of available tropes that these women leaned on?c) how do these tropes relate to gender - do they ignore gender or use it?
d) how to other people respond to the spin and to what extend do their responses relate to gender as a relevant issue (do they use gender as they women have or is gender used to undercut the women's spin)?
e) does it seem like they are constructing whole selves or bitd and pieces for different audiences (something more like Todd's signs hung out to invite a certain kind of audience).
My work is different from Greenblatt in that I am looking for how they dealt with a particular aspect of their - public - selves, that I use only non fiction texts and letters ( how different is that?), that I want to leave the door open for a fragmented self AND a fragmented, continual process of self fashioning that is affected by the responses and that may be different from the private individual self (maybe the letters give a hint to a disconnect - maybe they will show women believing their own hype).
Greenblatt is looking at literature in a historical context and I am using non fiction, but I find him useful because he looks at selves as a narrative construct, put together out of the cultural codes available in the particular environment within which they work.
ADDED a year later - that last is what I could use - the stuff I do is backtrack to find what common cultural codes they used to create their space ...this discussion then, might fit when I transition from what I want to explore and why I chose this way to explore it.