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Testament of Youth (1933)

por Vera Brittain

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Vera Brittain's Testament (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
1,830456,793 (4.15)2 / 363
In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porWXC89, WXC789, wxc777, jwhyte, WXC77, ejmw, WXC88
Bibliotecas LegadasBarbara Pym, Leonard and Virginia Woolf
  1. 10
    Testament of Friendship por Vera Brittain (jigarpatel)
    jigarpatel: Testament of Youth is almost required reading for Testament of Friendship. The former a memoir of Vera Brittain, the latter a biography of her closest friend Winifred Holtby. Although focusing on individuals and their relationships, they also powerfully describe the "state of the times". In particular, causes such as feminism, pacifism and racial equality are brought to life through the eyes of the protagonists.… (mais)
  2. 10
    The Ghost at the Wedding: A True Story por Shirley Walker (cushlareads)
    cushlareads: Testament of Youth is Vera Brittain's very moving autobiography of her life and loss of loved ones in World War One. The Ghost at the Wedding is about Jessie Walker, born in Australia in 1899, and numerous family members who went off to fight in World War One and later Two. Both books were great.… (mais)
  3. 00
    Cabin Fever por Elizabeth Jolley (KayCliff)
  4. 00
    The Great Believers por Rebecca Makkai (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: Both books describe the decimation of a generation of young men as seen close up: from WWI in Testament of Youth and in The Great Believers the ravages of AIDS in the 1980s.
  5. 00
    The Man from St. Petersburg por Ken Follett (LiteraryReadaholic)
  6. 00
    Chronicle of Youth: War Diary, 1913-17 por Vera Brittain (VivienneR)
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This is the sort of book that shakes you. It puts a face on what Britain lost in the war and why, almost 100 years later, all of Britain pauses on November 11th at the eleventh hour. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose almost everyone you loved and have to carry on. This needs to be read before you read any history of the war. As you read remember that Vera was typical of her generation. Thousands of young woman who lost lover, cousins, and brothers due to the war. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
While this is one of the classic war books and written from the almost unique perspective of a woman, if you can find an abridged version to read, get that instead of the full text.

Brittain has written an extremely self-focussed work here. Where it deals with the life and times of women in the early years of the 20th century and, in particular, the impact of the war on them, it is very interesting.

Where Vera describes her own life and, in particular, what she gets up to after the war, the book is little more than a diary and thus, IMO, not worth reading. She does go on a bit, and when she does, its all me, me, me.

Whereas novels like Storm of Steel are written almost completely from the front line, Brittain could not write Testament from that point of view. Although this makes for a less gripping read, it conveys an important aspect of the war and one which is far less frequently described.

It’s also less frequently read. Brittain does herself no favours by not sticking to where the action is. A judicious editor would have realised that bits needed trimming off. She tells us that her mother is in Cornwall on holiday. It’s not immediately apparently that this is entirely useless information to the reader as it has no bearing on anything. As I say, if you can pick up an abridged version, do read it. Otherwise, be prepared for some blah.

What’s more, be prepared for her to come across strongly with her humanism and atheism. The former is very much a product of its time. At one point she claims that

"So long as the spirit of man remained undefeated, life was worth having."

This comes after living through a world war which was instigated and fueled by nothing less than the spirit of man. Vera should have lived to read The Kindly Ones which gets this absolutely right:

"There was a lot of talk, after the war … about inhumanity. But, I am sorry. There is no such thing as inhumanity. There is only humanity and more humanity." (The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell)

As for the atheism, throughout the novel, Brittain addresses those she has lost as if they still exist somewhere but seems to think this in no way contradicts an atheist view of there being no afterlife. Curious.

While this is an important book, and will remain so for years to come, it won’t get any easier to read. ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 5, 2020 |
Nel 1933 Vera Brittain pubblica ''Testament of Youth'': attraverso la propria storia, vivida e sincera, raccoglie le sue memorie e lascia come testamento ideale e come tributo a una generazione perduta, quella spazzata via dalla grande guerra, questo libro acclamato fin da subito come un classico della letteratura inglese. Nel 1914 Vera si affaccia alla giovinezza. E' brillante, anticonformista e decisa a cambiare un destino di moglie gentile e madre paziente, diventando una delle prime donne ammesse in un selettivo college di Oxford. Con l'egocentrismo dei suoi vent'anni, inizialmente Vera considera la grande guerra soprattutto una scomoda interruzione delle proprie attività, ma la portata degli eventi che stanno travolgendo l'Europa diventa presto chiara: la devastazione non è solo materiale, ma anche psicologica e spirituale. Lasciata Oxford, Vera serve la patria a Londra, a Malta, in Francia come infermiera volontaria, mentre il fratello, il fidanzato, gli amici più cari perdono la vita nelle trincee. Sopravvivere a tutto e tornare a un nuovo genere di ''normalità'' non sarà facile. Dopo una risurrezione difficile ma necessaria, divenuta scrittrice e giornalista, Vera non racconta soltanto la disillusione e il dolore, ma anche il cammino di maturazione delle idee per le quali ha combattuto tutta la vita, armata solo della sua penna: pacifismo e lotta per i diritti delle donne. Titolo originale: ''Testament of Youth'' (1933, 1960).
  kikka62 | Mar 8, 2020 |
"Historia de una juventud perdida", de José María Guelbenzu, Babelia, 09.11.2019: https://elpais.com/cultura/2019/11/05/babelia/1572971894_396817.html
  Albertos | Feb 16, 2020 |
Vera Brittain's memoir is as much heartfelt plea for pacifism and feminism as passionate indictment of war and misogyny. It establishes a link between pacifism and feminism in an engaging style which avoids the pitfalls of moralism and academia. Readers with expectations of war-related non-fiction need to keep an open mind: this is more about the psyche of a nation rather than military action on the front line. What makes Testament of Youth so powerful is you know how it will end, yet the twists and turns draw you into a world, private and public, never known since the Great War. Publishing this volume 15 years after Armistice, Brittain strikes an attractive balance between perspective and emotion.

The narrative begins with a description of Vera's provincial middle-class upbringing: how the beginnings of war did little to disturb her sheltered life, closely supervised and restricted, the company of her brother one of her few comforts. She becomes influenced by feminists of the time and bemoans her family's reluctance to encourage her further education. Securing admission to Oxford, she talks of the impossible struggle of women to assert themselves as equals of men. She has interests in poetry, drama, debate, tennis and, of course, the growing women's suffrage movement. Amidst all this, she becomes close with Edward's friends: Victor Richardson, Geoffrey Thurlow and future fiancé Roland Leighton. A disillusioned Roland Leighton, the first to begin active service, describes his experiences at the front as "a mere trade". Tragedy strikes.

The second part delves into the psychology of the young soldier driven by duty and honour whose world view is shattered by the realities of trench warfare. Vera, meanwhile, cannot fathom an academic life while her closest friends risk their lives, and becomes a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, taking positions in London, Malta and France. Her exertions help her face recent shocks while fuelling her pacifism. She is particularly affected by her spell nursing German prisoners of war, and describes in detail the challenging conditions, only worsened by the uneasy relationship between VADs and professional nurses. This section includes poignant excerpts from her diary and correspondence with her closest friends. Further tragedy strikes.

The final part dwells on her return to Oxford, political developments, and her activism. In particular, equal work opportunities for women and their enfranchisement become a hot topic. I recall my headmaster claiming the greatest tragedy of the Great War was that it was the very best who were first sent to the front and lost to the world. Yet Vera observes that whether or not one received a medal was as much a matter of chance as of individual merit: whether a soldier survived the countless and senseless avenues to death for the opportunity to exhibit their bravery. The gaping hole nonetheless left in post-war Britain, a figurative lost generation, was only slowly and partially filled via recognition of the active part women could play in the nation's recovery. Vera returns to Oxford, graduating in History instead of English in an attempt to better understand what had happened. She befriends fellow aspiring author Winifred Holtby, with whom she tours occupied Germany and Austria.

Despite the losses she feels so deeply, Vera finds ways to live but not forget. Indeed, to live and be active in life is a way for the "war generation" to give purpose to those who perished. Beautifully crafted, I have read few books, fiction or non-fiction, which capture so vividly young people's attitudes to war. ( )
1 vote jigarpatel | Nov 14, 2019 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Vera Brittainautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Bostridge, MarkIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Campbell, CherylReaderautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Williams, ShirleyPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them. But those were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten... Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore. The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.
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When the Great War broke out, it came to me not as a superlative tragedy, but as an interruption of the most exasperating kind to my personal plans.
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The impulse to put what I felt into verse -- a new impulse which had recently begun both to fascinate and torment me -- sprang up with overwhelming compulsion.
Absorbed in Unseen Translations and the Binomial Theorem, eagerly looking forward to seeing Roland once more at Uppingham, and mitigating the interval by a heartless retrospective flirtation with my would-be suitor of the previous summer, I entirely failed to notice in the daily papers of June 29th an account of the assassination, on the previous morning, of a European potentate whose name was unknown to me, in a Balkan town of which I had never heard. (pg 85/661)
Whenever I think of the weeks that followed the news of Roland's death, a series of pictures, disconnected but crystal clear, unroll themselves like a kaleidoscope through my mind.
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In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.

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