A feature movie based on the classic WWI memoir, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, began filming last week at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire, England, according to local news stories.
Just last year, 80 years after publication, the book was called “one of the most powerful and widely read war memoirs of all time,” by The Guardian. When it was published in 1933, it was “an instant hit,” and Virginia Woolf wrote in her diaries that she had to stay up all night to finish it. It’s pacifist message fell out of favor during WWII, but in 1978 the feminist Virago Press brought it back into print to great success. Today, notes The Guardian, “the book seems to strike a chord with contemporary readers who have themselves lived through an era of renewed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The title role is being played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (whose breakout was in the supporting role of Kitty in Anna Karenina; she also starred in the Oscar-nomated Danish movie, A Royal Affair), replacing Saoirse Ronan, who was originally cast for the role.
The book is currently available in the U.S. in trade paperback from Penguin Books:
Testament of Youth
Penguin Classics, 2005
Trade paperback $20.00 USD