The Village in the Jungle

The Village in the Jungle

Leonard Woolf








This title will be available by 18 June 2018

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(Paperback | ISBN 9789387693890 | 208 pp | May 2018)


Leonard Woolf, husband of Virginia Woolf, the celebrated author, drew on his own experiences as a colonial civil servant in Ceylon to write this ground-breaking book. It is one of the best-loved and best-known stories in Sri Lanka, even today.

The Village in the Jungle describes the lives of a poor family in a tiny isolated village as they struggle to survive. Apart from the problems of poverty, disease, superstition and the pitfalls of the jungle itself, they must contend with an unsympathetic colonial system and the corruption it engenders. The head of the family is a hunter, Silindu, with two daughters. Their lives are shattered when a licentious trader comes to the village and convinces the headman to frame the elder daughter’s husband and send him to prison. Although Silindu tries to intervene, he is put on trial for murder in an English-speaking court where he has no voice.

This volume includes a short story, ‘Pearls and Swine’, which vividly draws on Woolf’s own experiences as a young District Commissioner, as well as a new biographical afterword by Sir Christopher Ondaatje, author of Woolf in Ceylon. Packed with first-hand knowledge of the colonial machine, The Village in the Jungle accurately depicts its profound disregard for its subject peoples.


The Village in the Jungle sits with Burmese Days by George Orwell as the very best of the literature written by servants of the British Empire in the twentieth century [...reflecting] the misgivings Woolf came to feel about the imperial enterprise.’—from the Afterword by Sir Christopher Ondaatje

‘...a remarkable work…[The Village in the Jungle] is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than the coloniser’s.’ —Nick Rankin, BBC Magazine

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About the author

Leonard Woolf

Leonard Woolf was born in London in 1880. In 1904 he joined the Civil Service in Ceylon, working there for several years as a government agent. On his return to England in May 1911 he married Virginia Stephen who was, like her husband, a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group. His first novel, The Village […]

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