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Title: Women at the Front during the First World War : the politics of class, gender and empire
Author: Dennant, Lynda
ISNI:       0000 0001 3422 1846
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1998
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Our memory and understanding of women's experiences at the Front during the First World War are overwhelmingly influenced by the autobiographical account of Vera Brittain. Testament of Youth was published in 1933 as part of a wave of antiwar literature produced by men and women. Brittain's chronicle of the war achieved renewed popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s when it was dramatised by the BBC and acclaimed by feminist academics who recognised its value in contesting the predominantly male literary war canon. Brittain wrote about the effects of losing the young men in her life, her fiance and her brother, and the inability she felt as a young woman, to achieve anything constructive during the war. When her fiance enlisted in the army she decided to enrol as an auxiliary nurse with the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), believing this would give her at least some idea of what it was like to experience war. The loss of the men she loved shaped her war experiences, as did the labour and anguish of volunteer nursing and the eclipse of her youth in a war that she considered neither just nor worthwhile. Her experience of being a young woman from a provincial middle-class background, without medical training, going off to war to nurse as a way of comprehending the experiences of the men closest to her came to personify the experience of women who went to the Front.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D501 World War I