I had not yet acquired the self-protective callousness of later days, and I put into the writing of my diary that evening an emotion comparable to the feeling of shock and impotent pity that had seized Roland when he found the first dead man from his platoon at the bottom of the trench.
The mutilated body of the soldier in Testament of Youth looms behind Brittain's hand, touching hers, meeting ours as we turn the pages of the book-each alone.
The war, at this stage at least, must still be believed in: Roland had died for it, her brother Edward was still fighting and she had disrupted her studied at Oxford to serve the 'British Tommies'.
vertiginous movement between abjection and desire, the shattered ruins of the battlefields and the longing for that one perfect body.
she dwells on moments when the young, sheltered, female body comes in actual physical contact with male wounds. Such moments occur obsessively in the nurses' writings, as if the hand was doomed to a compulsion to repeat the experiences from which it most shuddered. (of Brittain's Testament of Youth)
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