from the constant handling of their lean, muscular bodies, I came to understand the essential cleanliness, the innate nobility, of sexual love on its physical side.
Short of actually going to bed with them, there was hardly an intimate service that I did not perform for one or another in the course of four years, and I still have reason to be thankful for the knowledge of masculine functioning which the care of them gave me, and for my early release for the sex-inhibitions
almost every girl left school with only two ambitions-to return at the first possible moment to impress her school-fellows with the glory of a grown-up toilette, and to get engaged before everybody else.
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.
Trying to transmit their mental scars, the First World War nurses obsessively return to the site of the physical wound: touch becomes the ground of both testimony and trauma.
Touching the wounds of soldiers is the most intimate way of body-witnessing history witnessing in and through exposed flesh
there is a frightful compromise which generates a sense of impropriety in the act of witnessing, of the nurse registering the shame of the patient at his awareness of the nurse's knowledge.
The transgression is not one of gender but of privacy, of having crossed frightful thresholds of intimacy without permission or even intention.
vertiginous movement between abjection and desire, the shattered ruins of the battlefields and the longing for that one perfect body.
does physical revulsion induce a reciprocal need for physical union, even erotic contact, as if only the coming together of healthy bodies in a context of wholeness and pleasure could sooth the daily assault on the most intimate of human senses?