Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Diary Without Dates” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
A Diary Without Dates
Enid Bagnold
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Diary Without Dates

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Enid Bagnold's account of her experience as a nurse during the First World War, was so critical of hospital administration that the military authorities arranged for her dismissal. Determined to help the war effort she went to France and worked as a volunteer driver.
Paperback, 127 pages
Published 1978 by Virago Limited
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Diary Without Dates, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Diary Without Dates

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  66 ratings  ·  13 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An almost dreamlike stream-of-consciousness journal of thoughts and brief descriptions. Enid Bagnold wrote it while working as a young VAD in a hospital near London during the Great War. A book I shall go on thinking about, I suspect, and an interesting contrast with Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth".
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
They might have been the words of a young woman anxious about her lover, but they weren’t. They were the words of a nurse, who couldn’t shake off her concern for a gravely ill patient when she left work.

Enid Bagnold came from a very privileged background, she had been to art school, she had worked as a journalist, and when the Great War came she became a VAD, trained in first aid and simple nursing care in to work in military and convalescent hospitals.

‘Diary Without Dates’ is her account of t
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the First World War, or the history of nursing
Exactly a hundred years ago, in the middle of World War One, Enid Bagnold was nursing wounded soldiers in a Victorian hospital near London. A Diary without Dates is a short, first-person, present-tense account of her experiences from the autumn of 1916 to the summer of 1917.

The lives of nurses at this time were very strictly regulated. They had very little free time and might be sent anywhere at any moment, as might the patients. Bagnold described hospital life as "an everlasting dislocation of
Maud Van Keulen
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've never read a book about the Great War in England. It shows another aspect of the war.
This debut book by Enid Bagnold was published in 1918. It really is a copy of her undated diary from time spent working in a hospital in England during WWI. She worked as a nurse’s aide, and saw all sorts of things that disturbed her about the hospital; things over and above the wounds the soldiers had received in combat. She didn’t like the cavalier attitude a great many of the nurses (‘sisters’) had toward their patients. In her opinion they didn’t seem to care if the men were in great pain or ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this non-fiction work much more than Bagnold's first novel, and found it much more sympathetic as well. It's an impresionistic, stream-of-consciousness diary about being a VAD during WWI, depicting the narrator's emotional struggles to remain balanced despite the misery around her. She is by turns sympathetic towards and frustrated with the Sisters (professional nurses) she works with. They are often callous towards the suffering, but as narrator (can one really say it is Bagnold?) finds ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young Nurse in WWI Hospital

I was interested to read early work from Enid Bagnold, British author and playwright, most famous for National Velvet. The short work is written in a personal diary form which tells the inner feelings and impressions of a young nurse working in a military hospital during World War One. My favorite quote, appears as the nurse questions why the Sisters (Nursing Nuns) are so seemingly unfeeling in their treatment of the wounded soldiers. "How was she to live among her fel
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was, at the time I read it, so difficult to obtain that I mail-ordered a 1933 edition. It still has a library catalog card in the back from Barons Consolidated School District No. 8 (Alberta, Canada). It's basically a diary of a VAD driver in WW1 and apparently caused quite a sensation when it was originally published. Bagnold's sensibilities come through very well -- she was at most 18 when she wrote it -- and shows early stages of the marvelous talent she exhibited later in other works. T ...more
Debbie Robson
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a quirky, original work this is. Bagnold's sensibility sets her apart from other writers of that era. It's not surprising to read that Bagnold was dismissed from her post as a VAD, presumably after publication of this book. She's an intelligent woman who makes (what now seem very reasonable observations) about the wounded soldiers under care, the attitude of the medical supervisors and the ridiculousness and futility of war. Here is the last few memorable lines of the book:
'"But one does no
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Just over a hundred small pages (5x8") and worth its weight in
whatever you value most. I knew her name, & didn't realize it was for "National Velvet," but this earned her place long before that, when she was 25 and a volunteer nurse for wounded soldiers back from France to the countryside near London during World War I. She wrote to keep herself sane, and what she wrote fits us now, all too well. The dedication suggests the unique flavor of her writing: "To that friend of mine who, when I w
Gabi Coatsworth
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, british, re-read, ww-1
Chicago Jun 1979
A short, beautifully written, book about the author's work as a nurse in a military hospital in World War I. Her eye for detail, her longing to make a difference to the men she's caring for, and her knowledge that she can't always do so, make this a valuable contribution to the WW I canon.
Cyndy Jackson
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting first-hand account of a hospital during WWII. Would have been easier to read if dates were included but I guess the title would then be different!
rated it liked it
Mar 12, 2014
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2013
Cynthia Law
rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2016
rated it liked it
Dec 21, 2015
rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2018
rated it liked it
Feb 10, 2019
rated it liked it
Jan 10, 2014
rated it liked it
Sep 08, 2018
rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2014
rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2014
rated it liked it
Feb 27, 2018
rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2014
Jennifer Kappel
rated it liked it
Jul 21, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2014
Angela Mcentee
rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2013
Amy Barlow
rated it really liked it
Sep 09, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jun 07, 2016
rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2014
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
British writer of novels and plays, best known for National Velvet and The Chalk Garden.

For more information, please see
“Sometimes in the late evenings one walks busily up and down the ward doing this and that, forgetting that there is anything beyond the drawn blinds, engrossed in the patients, one's tasks - bed-making, washing, one errand and another - and then suddenly a blind will blow out and almost up to the ceiling, and through it you will catch a glimpse that makes you gasp, of a black night crossed with bladed searchlights, of a moon behind a crooked tree.
The lifting of the blind is a miracle; I do not believe in the wind.”
“I have said before that the long corridor is wonderful. In the winter afternoons and evenings, when the mist rolled up and down over the tiles like the smoke in a tunnel, when one walked almost in darkness and peered into the then forbidden wards, when dwarfs coming from the G block grew larger and larger until the A block turned them into beings of one's own size, the corridor always made a special impression on me.” 0 likes
More quotes…