Women's Autobiography: War and Trauma by Victoria Stewart

By Victoria Stewart

Examining a number of 20th century writers, together with Vera Brittain, Anne Frank and Eva Hoffman, this learn specializes in how fresh theories of trauma can elucidate the narrative thoughts hired of their autobiographical writing. The historic situations of every writer also are thought of. the result's a booklet that offers a shiny experience of the way ladies writers have tried to surround key occasions of the 20th century, fairly the 1st international warfare and the Holocaust, inside of their lifestyles stories.

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Women's Autobiography: War and Trauma

Studying quite a number 20th century writers, together with Vera Brittain, Anne Frank and Eva Hoffman, this examine specializes in how contemporary theories of trauma can elucidate the narrative innovations hired of their autobiographical writing. The old conditions of every writer also are thought of. the result's a e-book that gives a shiny experience of ways girls writers have tried to surround key occasions of the 20th century, quite the 1st international warfare and the Holocaust, inside their lifestyles tales.

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Sample text

A similar sentiment is Vera Brittain and the ‘Lost Generation’ 39 expressed in Freud’s ‘Thoughts for the Times on War and Death’: We were prepared to find that wars between the primitive and the civilized peoples, between the races who are divided by the colour of their skin […] would occupy mankind for some time to come. […] But the great nations themselves, it might have been supposed, would have acquired so much comprehension of what they had in common, and so much tolerance for their differences, that ‘foreigner’ and ‘enemy’ would no longer be merged […] into a single concept.

Richardson comments of the friendship between himself, Leighton and Edward Brittain: ‘It was the more strange because any two of us were linked more closely by affection for the third. […] [N]ow that you are His representative it seems natural to talk to you about it’ (Bishop and Bostridge, p. 229). For Richardson, Brittain becomes an intercessor, or a proxy for Leighton. Soon, Richardson begins to express his disillusionment. Brittain comments that in one letter Richardson speculated on ‘why they were all out there’, only to conclude that, the protection of Belgium notwithstanding, the best answer was ‘to be found in the words of an Army marching song to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”: We’re here because/ We’re here because/ We’re here because/ We’re here …’ (Testament of Youth, p.

Although Winter has indicated that many found comfort in ‘fictive kinship’ (p. 53) with those similarly bereaved, the nature of Brittain’s attachments to those she has lost make it difficult for this to be a kinship she can establish. No such fictive community can salve the pain resulting from the loss of an actual community to which she felt she belonged with the men. Notable here is Brittain’s description of the alienation she experiences during the Armistice Day celebrations, when her personal losses all but overshadow any sense of relief that the war is over.

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