Category Archives: Brittain, Vera

Watching Testament of Youth

Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth made a great impression on me when I finally read it several years ago. My interest in it led me to read more by and about Brittain, as well as more by and about her close … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera | 3 Comments

“The sword in the hand of humanity”: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-1917

“Boldness is Rebecca West’s strength,” Jane Marcus says in  her edited collection The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-1917; “She polished the weapons of invective and denunciation into the tools of a fine art.” That combination of boldness and artfulness … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera, Feminism, West, Rebecca | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“It is only War in the abstract that is beautiful”: Letters from a Lost Generation

In remembrance, from the Novel Readings archive. This volume is subtitled “The First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends: Roland Leighton, Edward Brittain, Victor Richardson, Geoffrey Thurlow.” The editors, Alan Bishop and Mark Bostridge, explain in their ‘Note … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera | Tagged | 2 Comments

“I believe we are lost”: Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front is as bleak and compelling a version of the “lost generation” narrative of World War I as I’ve read so far. In fact, Paul Bäumer, the novel’s narrator, comments explicitly, repeatedly, and bitterly on the … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera, Remarque, Erich Maria, Somerville Seminar | Leave a comment

“She is in love with life”: Winifred Holtby’s Virginia Woolf: A Critical Memoir

In my post on Vera Brittain’s Testament of Friendship, I quoted a passage Brittain includes from Holtby’s letters, addressing her decision to write a critical biography of Virginia Woolf: I took my courage and curiosity in both hands and chose … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera, Holtby, Winifred, Somerville Seminar, Woolf, Virginia | Leave a comment

Social Revolutions: Vera Brittain, Honourable Estate

I finally finished reading Vera Brittain’s 1936 novel Honourable Estate. I read Part I a few months back and described it as “not particularly artful” but “emotionally quite intense,” and unsurprisingly, it continues that way to the end. Part I told … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera, Somerville Seminar | 3 Comments

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas

It’s hard to spot similarities between Virginia Woolf and the Somerville novelists I’ve been looking at if you focus on Woolf’s fiction. Winifred Holtby wrote a book about Woolf, and as I noted in my post about Testament of Friendship, … Continue reading

Posted in Brittain, Vera, Holtby, Winifred, Somerville Seminar, Woolf, Virginia | 4 Comments