Saturday, 31 January 2015

Page 56. Vera Brittain's War Diaries.

This week I went to see the film, 'Testament of Youth'. I remember the television five-part series of 1979 very clearly and thought that the film had a hard act to follow. The story is taken from Vera Brittain's book of the same name, first published in 1933.  A series gives ample time to develop character and I recall being thoroughly immersed in Vera's life and loss. I think that the film did a good job at establishing her relationships, although there was a bit too much close-up soulful looking to camera for my taste. The lighting, as with most film and theatre productions these days, was excellent and the whole story well handled.
Vera used her war diaries as source material for her book. When I got home I pulled my copy of 'Chronicle of Youth', which comprises edited entries from her diary, published, I presume, because of the keen interest shown as a result of the television series.
These are the photographs that Vera and her fiancee Roland Leighton exchanged in December 1914. Roland died in December of the following year.

Page 56  has the dairy entry for  February 9th, 1914 when Vera was twenty years old,  all her loss and heartbreak had yet to come. It gives a very clear picture of her lively personality. (And I've met a few 'Mr Dodd's' so know just how she felt!)

Mr Dodd went off, managing with great difficulty to stop talking. If his appalling piety and benevolently patronising manner towards women were not such an amusing study, it would be a distinct trial to me. As it is, it rather entertains me to be treated something like I treat my cat - as a being of utter irresponsibility and inconsequence, to whom no confidence or affairs of importance could possibly be imparted. Not that the poor man means any discourtesy, on the contrary he is all the time trying to show great deference to the "weaker vessel" on account of its weakness! But he is one of those persons more deadly to the cause of woman's freedom and independence than its most ardent opposer, for it has never occurred to him that there is such a thing to be opposed. Woman to him has always been inferior  as a matter of course and her position not even arguable!

For Freda's Friday 56, where we grab a book, turn to page 56, find a sentence or so, post it and add to Freda's linky.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very powerful story!
    Happy weekend!