Yes but 'Testament of Youth' was not an objective piece of writing, Vera had her agenda : Broadly, to stress how women's experience were in danger of being marginalised when the accounts of Great War were being written, to express her feelings how the sacrifices her generation made needed to be articulated, and to ensure that those closest to her who were killed were going to remembered, and of course to raise her concerns that a further large scale European war could break out again.
It must have been very hard for her husband George Catlin to have existed in the shadow of Roland Leighton, but I imagine that this was not an uncommon experience for men at the time, feeling that they were the second choice as it were.
Don Farr's book 'None That Go Return- Leighton, Brittain and Friends, and the Lost Generation 1914-1918' tries hard to disentangle the lives of Roland Leighton, Edward Brittain, Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow from the way they are portrayed in 'Testament of Youth'. Essential companion reading for anyone interested in Vera Brittain.
Regards, Michael Bully
Sue Light, on 22 May 2012 - 05:18 PM, said:
I agree it's generally accepted by others that her relationship with Roland Leighton might not have endured, but was this ever mentioned by her? Did she still believe in 1933 that it was the great romance of her life, and if she did, then perhaps it's unfair to doubt her now. If she didn't, then was it just more convenient for her story to imply continued sorrow at the loss of not only Roland, but of what he represented - true happiness in her life. So much of Testament of Youth revolves around her personal loss, particularly that of Leighton, which in itself has raised him to a level of renown unlikely in most other circumstances. Although I don't doubt the honesty of her emotions during wartime, I can never quite accept that these few characters have found such an elevated position in Great War history due to one woman's story written long after the war.