Poppy Field Banner for Draycot.com
Home   |   The 4 Media   |   The Narrating 'I'   |   Biography   |   Memoir & Sketches   |   Sketches vs. Photos   |   Diaries & Photos   |   Final Remarks
The Narrating 'I'   |   Autobiography, Identity, and Fiction   |   The ‘I’ of Websites
The ‘I’ of Websites
The ‘I’ in texts published on the Web is a product of remediation, i.e. ‘the importation of earlier media into a digital space in order to critique and refashion them’.x There are two fundamental aspects of remediation which influence how the reader perceives texts published in new media such as the World Wide Web: readers may focus on the texts presented and ignore the medium of representation (this is termed ‘immediacy’), or the medium may draw attention to itself by requiring users to implement special functions such as clicking on images, scrolling, etc. (known as ‘hypermediacy’).xi Both approaches appeal to the authenticity of experience, as the reader perceives the observed text or image as genuine. The ‘I’ of the autobiographical text is identical in both kinds of user, though the sense of immediacy is different.

For both users, Web images and texts are more than pictures: they are objects to be moved around and examined from all perspectives, thereby enhancing opportunities to critique both the content of the autobiographical text and the process by which it was produced. Because website publication allows one to place different texts side by side, the various facets of the different forms of ‘I’ can be more easily revealed. While this site compares Draycot’s memoirs with his sketches and charts, and his photographs with his diaries,xii it would also be possible to compare the memoir and diaries, focusing on their accounts of battles, trench life, relations between soldiers and officers, etc.

Such a comparison would necessarily involve a greater emphasis on the issue of reliability – particularly the effects of memory – on the identity of the narrating and narrated ‘I’. The photographs and sketches/charts could also be compared. This would entail focusing on Draycot’s photographs of the environment rather than on those taken of and directed by him. The issue of practical relevance regarding the conduct of battle would overshadow any consideration of the identity of the narrating and narrated ‘I’. The detail revealed and variety of comparisons made possible by the Web are thus useful measures of the possibilities as well as limitations of autobiographical texts as indicators of the different forms of the autobiographical ‘I’.
Draycot in uniform standing in his garden - click on image to enlarge
Draycot’s continued preoccupation with World War One
It is significant that Draycot continued into old age to see his identity in terms of his experiences and achievements in World War One. At the outbreak of World War Two, the photograph to the right was taken, presumably at the instigation of Draycot himself (this photograph is discussed in the section entitled ‘Diaries & Photographs’). It is Draycot’s decision to ‘keep out of it’: he has done his duty, is in charge of his destiny and has proved his ability not only to his fellow countrymen but more importantly, to himself. World War Two is not his war. World War One, on the other hand, remained in his memory and thoughts until his death in 1985.


x Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1999), 53.
xi For a more detailed discussion of the concepts of ‘immediacy’ and ‘hypermediacy’, see ibid., 20–64.
xii The memoir and sketches, as already established, are similar in that they constitute narratives with a specific purpose, employ conventional devices (words and symbols, for example, that are recognised and interpreted by the reader) and require careful revision. The diaries and photographs, on the other hand, are slices of time and space which accept ‘now’ and are not designed to bring about change. Neither do they require revision. While the memoir and sketches provide a coherent story, the diaries and photographs are snapshots without context.

Next: The Biography
Optimized for 1024 x 768
Mozilla Firefox and IE
  Webmaster:
  Teri Schamp-Bjerede
Copyright 2011-2018 - all rights reserved www.walterdraycot.com
Jane M. Ekstam
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!