The village in the jungle
Sidelined by Leonard Woolf's involvement in politics after he left the Civil Service, overshadowed by Virginia Woolfs continuous and brilliant achievement as a novelist, The Village in the Jungle (1913) fell from notice in Britain until, by the time its author died in 1969, it was almost forgotten. In Sri Lanka and southeast Asia, however, scholars recognize this classic novel as part of a distinguished literary line extending from Kipling through Conrad and Forster, to Paul Scott and Ruth Jhabvala. The value to scholarship of Professor Yasmine Gooneratne's edition is enhanced by perceptive comparisons, now made for the first time, of the novel's various editions with Woolf's original manuscript. Highlighting substantial amendments made by the author prior to publication, she shows in detailed notes how they reflect his passion for accuracy, his wish to maintain objectivity while writing of another culture, and his humane sympathy for the people among whom he had worked for seven years as a civil servant in Sri Lanka. Errors and misprints in the first edition are corrected, local customs explained, Sinhala words glossed, the novel's themes related to the politics of colonialism, and the entire work brought within the ambit of the 21st century.
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