Vera Brittain

Literary Birthday – 29 December – Vera Brittain

Vera Brittain was born 29 December 1893, and died 29 March 1970.


  1. So many people seem to imagine that because the actual tools of writing are easily accessible, it is less difficult than the other arts. This is entirely an illusion.
  2. Politics is the executive expression of human immaturity.
  3. There is still, I think, not enough recognition by teachers of the fact that the desire to think–which is fundamentally a moral problem–must be induced before the power is developed. Most people, whether men or women, wish above all else to be comfortable, and thought is a pre-eminently uncomfortable process.
  4. There is an abiding beauty which may be appreciated by those who will see things as they are and who will ask for no reward except to see.
  5. If the would-be writer studies people in their everyday lives and discovers how to make his characters in their quieter moods interesting to his readers, he will have learned far more than he can ever learn from the constant presentation of crises.
  6. Meek wifehood is no part of my profession; I am your friend, but never your possession.
  7. Could I write an autobiographical novel, I wonder? Can one make a book out of the very essence of one’s self? Perhaps so, if one was left with one’s gift stripped bare of all that made it worth having, and nothing else was left…
  8. At college, more than anywhere else, one was likely to make the friendships that supported one through life.
  9. The best prose is written by authors who see their universe with a poet’s eyes.
  10. You share that part of my mind that associates itself mostly with ideal things and places… The impression thinking about you gives me is very closely linked with that given me by a lonely hillside or a sunny afternoon… or books that have meant more to me than I can explain… This is grand, but still it isn’t enough for this world… The earthly and obvious part of me longs to see and touch you and realise you as tangible.
  11. There is a strange lack of dignity in conquest; the dull, uncomplaining endurance of defeat appears more worthy of congratulation.
  12. An author who waits for the right ‘mood’ will soon find that ‘moods’ get fewer and fewer until they cease altogether.

Vera Brittain was a British writer, feminist, and pacifist. She is best remembered as the author of the best-selling 1933 memoir Testament of Youth, recounting her experiences during World War I and the beginning of her journey towards pacifism.


Noelbabar, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 29th December 2013