Brittain, Vera

(1892-1970)
   Newcastle-born feminist, poet and novelist, from a wealthy background. World War I interrupted her study at Somerville College, Oxford, and she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) and nursed in France. After the War, back at Oxford, she became associated with the peace movement, to which she was committed for the rest of her life. She was an honorary life president of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, a vice-president of the National Peace Council, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Brittain's diaries were posthumously published as Chronicle of Youth (1981). Her main works are: Verses of a V.A.D., 1919. The Dark Tide, 1923 (a controversial novel of sexism in Oxford). Testament of Youth, 1933 (the story of her experiences in France). Testament of Experience, 1957 (a memoir). A few lines of her poem "Perhaps" could be expressing something of the horror of war when her brother was killed. She expresses the darkness of soul where the sun does not shine, where the skies are grey and living is in vain.
   Sources: Books and Writers, Biograpy of Vera Brittain (http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/britta.htm). Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Oldpoetry (www.oldpoetry.com). Scars upon My Heart: Women's Poetry and Verse of the First World War. Catherine W Reilly, ed. Virago Press, 1981. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Superfluous Woman, poem by Vera Brittain (1920) (http://www.aftermathww1.com/brittain.asp).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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