Vera Mary Brittain (December 29, 1893 – March 29, 1970) was an English writer, feminist and pacifist, best remembered as the author of the best-selling 1933 memoir Testament of Youth, recounting her experiences during World War I and the growth of her ideology of pacifism.
- We should never be at the mercy of Providence if only we understood that we ourselves are Providence.
- Testament of Youth (1933), Chapter 10
- For a woman as for a man, marriage might enormously help or devastatingly hinder the growth of her power to contribute something impersonally valuable to the community in which she lived, but it was not that power, and could not be regarded as an end in itself. Nor, even, were children ends in themselves; it was useless to go on producing human beings merely in order that they, in their sequence, might produce others, and never turn from this business of continuous procreation to the accomplishment of some definite and lasting piece of work.
- Testament of Youth (1933), Chapter 11
- I don't think victory over death... is anything so superficial as a person fulfilling their normal span of life. It can be twofold; a victory over death by the man who faces it for himself without fear, and a victory by those who, loving him, know that death is but a little thing compared with the fact that he lived and was the kind of person he was.
- Testament of Youth (1933), Chapter 12 [quoting a 1924 letter]
- Meek wifehood is no part of my profession; / I am your friend, but never your possession.
- "Married Love", Poems of the War and After (1934)
- All that a pacifist can undertake—but it is a very great deal—is to refuse to kill, injure or otherwise cause suffering to another human creature, and untiringly to order his life by the rule of love though others may be captured by hate.
- "What Can We Do In Wartime?", in Forward (Scotland, September 9, 1939)
- It is probably true to say that the largest scope for change still lies in men’s attitude to women, and in women’s attitude to themselves.
- Lady into Woman (1953), Chapter 15
- Politics are usually the executive expression of human immaturity.
- The Rebel Passion (1964), Chapter 1
- I know one husband and wife who, whatever the official reasons given to the court for the break up of their marriage, were really divorced because the husband believed that nobody ought to read while he was talking and the wife that nobody ought to talk while she was reading.
- Quoted in Jilly Cooper and Tom Hartman, Violets and Vinegar, "The Battle Done," (1980)
- Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life reviewed in University of Toronto Quarterly
- The making of a peacenik, Mark Bostridge, The Guardian, 2003-08-30