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Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader$
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Helen Wussow and Mary Ann Gillies

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.001.0001

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Leonard Woolf and the Ceylon Civil Service

Leonard Woolf and the Ceylon Civil Service

“I Had Come to Dislike Imperialism”

(p.59) Leonard Woolf and the Ceylon Civil Service
Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader

Lolly Ockerstrom

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Leonard Woolf's work and the concept of imperialism—a term which at the turn of the twentieth century, was re-establishing itself through practice and mindful awareness of its implications, moving away from nineteenth-century ideas, and embracing concerns—including the Great War—of the twentieth. It suggests that the roots of Woolf's anti-imperialism were sown during his time in the Ceylon civil service. It notes, Leonard writes that he arrived in “Sri Lanka an imperialist, but by the time he left, he had become an ‘anti-imperialist.’” Woolf was concerned with people first, ideas second, though he viewed politics and social issues through a very large and generous lens. His gift for analysis, his sense of humanity, and his sensitivity to how ordinary people lived all converged in his work.

Keywords:   Leonard Woolf, imperialism, Ceylon civil service

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