Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Woolf’

Village in the Jungle

A 1926 edition of Leonard’s novel

Sri Lankan Film Director Lester James Peries (LJP) recently sat down for an interview with The Sunday Times Sri Lanka in which he discussed how Leonard Woolf’s anti-imperialist 1913 novel based on Woolf’s experiences as a colonial civil servant in Ceylon, Village in the Jungle, inspired his 1980 film Baddegama.
Peries calls Leonard Woolf’s novel a “masterpiece.” From the interview:

Justifying the efforts he made to bring the novel closer to Lankan viewers, he said ‘Village in the Jungle’ is a masterpiece, authored by a literary giant of the twentieth century – the only fiction written by a colonial ruler on Lankans.

The novel projected the lives of peasants in a village surrounded by the jungles of Hambantota. The author, who was the Government Agent of the Hambantota District and thus himself an agent of imperialism, revealed the insensitivities and injustices of the colonial masters. Woolf was also one of the first who saw the cracks in the British Empire.

LJP was attracted not just by the narrative and literary excellence alone. He saw its sociological and political relevance which pushed him to search for a Sinhala translation.

Leonards-in-Ceylon-300x231

Leonard Woolf in Ceylon (front center)

Peries also celebrates the lasting influence of Woolf’s novel:

Baddegama

Film Cover for Baddegama (1980)

LJP points out that the novel written in 1913 has survived for over hundred years and inspired not only film-makers but authors like Christopher Ondaatje who in the hundredth year of Woolf’s arrival in Ceylon in 1904 retraced his footsteps to the real village “Malagasnugawala” which is likely to have been Woolf’s “Baddegama.”

In 1960 Leonard and his partner Trekkie Parsons visited Ceylon and although Leonard was nervous about how he would be perceived by Sri Lankans due to, as the article describes, his role “as a former agent of imperialism,” he was warmly welcomed:

[Leonard] had feared he would be vilified as a former agent of imperialism but found himself commended for the part he played which contributed to the then British government rethinking their role which helped Ceylon to gain Independence. Woolf, as LJP points out, had done a great service to Sri Lanka.

In 1980, Baddegama was invited to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight.

You can watch a short clip of the film Baddegama (with English subtitles).

Read Full Post »

An email from Cecil Woolf this morning reminded me that today would be his uncle Leonard’s 135th birthday.

I posted the reminder on Facebook and sent out a tweet about it.

Others (@manuelardingo @diconodioggi @SomeOfHerParts) picked it up and added to the conversation, resulting in a string of tweets about the day — and how one marks it.

This one included a photo of Virginia’s Nov. 25, 1928 diary entry:

 

Read Full Post »

The University of St. Andrews has acquired an archive of dozens of letters from Virginia Woolf’s friends and family collected by biographer Brownlee Kirkpatrick.

The collection includes two previously unseen photographs of Woolf.

The material will be made accessible to academics and the general public in a Special Collections Reading Room at the University of St Andrews. The Special Collections staff and the staff in the school of English have been working together to develop a Virginia Woolf and Hogarth Press research collection.

“This archive will put St Andrews even more firmly on the map as a world-ranking centre for the study of literary modernism in general and Virginia Woolf as one of its great proponents in particular,” Woolf scholar Susan Sellers told the Herald Scotland. She is also the author of the award-winning novel Vanessa and Virginia.

 

 

Read Full Post »

This video, an interview with Leonard Woolf regarding Maynard Keynes, is making its way around social media. It is less than a minute long, but it’s still wonderful to see him on film speaking.

At one time, there was another video of Leonard posted on YouTube. In it, he spoke about Virginia and the Bloomsbury Group. That video has been taken down due to permission problems.

If you’d like to listen to more about Leonard, download the podcasts from the Leonard Woolf Symposium held in 2012 at the University of Oxford.

Read Full Post »

Did you know? There is a film version of Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel, The Village in the Jungle (1913).

Also titled “Baddegama,” the 1981 film features Arthur C. Clarke in the role of Leonard. Directed by Lester James Peries, the film is in Sinhala with English subtitles.

The film’s court scenes with Woolf were shot in the actual courtroom where Woolf presided when he was in the British Civil Service. The 130-minute film was shown at the 1981 San Francisco International Film Festival.

The description of the film on the website reads:

“BADDEGAMA” is based on the celebrated novel written by Leonard Woolf who was the Government Agent in Sri Lanka in colonial times. A powerful story of village life in the Deep South it reveals the appalling misery of the villages exploited the head man and his associates. The film is a vivid and compelling record of their life.

The University of Oxford hosted a March 9, 2013, symposium to mark the centenary of Woolf’s novel and now offers three podcasts from the day online:

  1. ‘The Village in the Jungle’ as colonial memoir: Woolf writing home
  2. ‘The Village in the Jungle’ Roundtable Discussion
  3. Sri Lankan Traditions and the Imperial Imagination: Leonard Woolf’s ‘The Village in the Jungle’

Read Full Post »

The event is free and open to the public.Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 8.45.49 PM

Read Full Post »

We who love Virginia Woolf know that she was multi-dimensional. We know that she was more than a serious writer who had bouts of madness. We know she could joke and laugh and enjoy life. We also know she could be gossipy and mean and petty. Basically, we recognize the fact that she was human. And perhaps that is why we love her so very much.

Emma Woolf, Virginia and Leonard’s great-nice and the daughter of publisher Cecil Woolf, has written a piece for Newsweek that describes Virginia’s many nuances. In “The Joyful, Gossipy and Absurd Private Life of Virginia Woolf,” Emma writes of Virginia’s Letting-Go-books-300x300experiences authoring The Voyage Out (1915), her subsequent breakdown, and the speculation surrounding her sexual life — or lack of one — with husband Leonard. She touches on her feminism, her pacifism and her anti-nationalism. She mentions Virginia’s diary entries that describe everyday life experiences — celebrating her birthday, buying a new dress and her trip to see a printing press.

Emma’s Feb. 13 essay covers a lot of ground, more than I can summarize here, and it does so with the sensitivity one should expect from a family member. So I recommend reading it for yourself.

Then consider picking up Emma’s new book, Letting Go: How to Heal Your Hurt, Love Your Body and Transform Your Life. The book’s title and description speak of the important lessons it contains about letting go of our perfectionism and embracing our own humanity, much as we embrace Virginia’s.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this quote from Virginia that Emma includes in her Newsweek essay. It seems to sum up — and embrace — what so many women want today. And what we all deserve.

I want everything – love, children, adventure, intimacy, work.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,761 other followers

%d bloggers like this: