Taylor and Francis just sent out an email notifying us of some of the free article collections they have put together (on literary studies in a general sense, Shakespeare, Women’s lit, Life writing etc.) – pretty cool. They connect us to documents which organize these articles for consideration:
“By fencing off past failures, people can maintain the belief that they are in command of their futures, that they have the power to produce success and happiness.
There is more to it than this, however. Rather than simply ignore the past, decision makers often use it selectively to validate their choices. [eg of Bush administration likening Saddam Hussein to Hitler] …By forging a link between the present and the past, these leaders used history to support their position, much as we have suggested that the average person invokes personal recollections to satisfy his or her present concerns.” P223 Creative remembering – Michael Ross and Roger Buehler pp205-235 in the remembering self
P42 “In a particularly penetrating article on the American self, Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius propose that we think not of a Self but of Possible Selves along with a Now Self. “Possible selves represent individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming.” Although not specifically intended to do so, their analysis highlights the extent to which American selfhood reflects the value placed in American culture on “keeping your options open.””
Folk psychology as an instrument of culture – bruner
“History offers two crucial channels to understanding ourselves better. The first is the opportunity to learn from the past. The second is psychological grounding. We learn where we came from, how we got here and what has given our society its unique character. History gives us context, richness and depth, continuity and perspective.”
“For history, in some modest and domesticated way, is the canonical setting for individual autobiography. It is [-p147] our sense of belonging to this canonical past that allows us to frame our self-accounts as, somehow, impelled by deviation from what was expected of us, while still maintaining complicity with the canon.” 
“… a historical narrative claims truth not merely for each of its individual statements taken distributively, but for the complex form of the narrative itself.” 
“identity is a life story. A life story is a personal myth that an individual begins working on in late adolescence and young adulthood in order to provide his or her life with unity or purpose and in order to articulate a meaningful niche in the psychosocial world.”
“a life story includes many different features and aspects, including a distinctive narrative tone, personal imagery, thematic lines, ideological settings, pivotal scenes, conflicting protagonists, and an anticipation of the ending to come. Each of these features has its own developmental logic; each arises in salience at a particular point in the human life cycle; and each is fully contextualized in the time, place, and ethos of a given individual’s life.” 
“From our very first beginnings, we are fed stories, embraced by stories, nourished by stories. The only way we come to make sense of the world is through the stories we are told. They pattern the world we have fallen into, effectively replacing its terrors and inconsistencies with structured images that assure us of its manageability. And in the process of structuring the world, stories structure us as beings in that world. we begin to tell our own stories, fashioning a self out of the stories and narrative patterns we have received from our culture.” 
 5 Dan McAdams (1993) The stories we live by; personal myths and the making of the self. The Guilford Press; New York and London.
 6 Dan McAdams (1993) The stories we live by; personal myths and the making of the self. The Guilford Press; New York and London.
 P1 Karen Coats (2004) Looking Glasses and Neverlands; Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children’s Literature. University of Iowa Press: Iowa City
P46 “Certain stories, we like to tell. These are the tales about ourselves that we trot out at parties when meeting someone new, or in those Hello-my-name-is situations at a workshop or conference, or when trying to create a particular impression in others’ eyes. Tried and true, practiced and polished …. [-p47] These stories stand out…. If we were ever to write a formal autobiography, it is around such stories we might well construct our narrative. We can think of them as signature stories, for they are accounts of ourselves that relatively safe to tell, anecdotes with which we are willing to go public. … Whether happy or sad, about good times or bad, they say something about what turns us on or makes us tick; about the turning points in our path; about why our life has taken the course it has. As such, they are often “origin stories” that say, basically, and that’s why I am the way I am – and am not (Bruner, 1990 [=Acts of Meaning]).
Our signature stories also indicate something about our fundamental beliefs, our convictions and values, habits and idiosyncracies; something about our hopes and fears, and our limits – about how far we can be pushed or how far we will go. We may be keen to tell them, therefore because, whether we realize it or not, they undergird the personal “myth” which (unconsciously) guides our life [list or refs]. For this reason, our signature stories can have a legendizing impulse running through them, especially the more frequently we tell them or the more positively they are heard.” 
 Restorying our lives; personal growth through autobiographical reflection. Gary Kenyon and William Randall (Westpor, Connecticut and London, Praeger,1997) [ISBN 0275956636 pp46-47