Category Archives: literary achievements

Remembering George Turnour: Scholar & Administrator Extraordinary

Hugh Karunanayake

Thirty seven years ago, on 13 April 1985, the British Prime Minister of the day  Mrs Margaret Thatcher during her visit to Sri Lanka to open the Victoria Dam, said  in an address to the Parliament of Sri Lanka  “The remains of an ancient civilization are visible in many parts of your island. Two thousand years ago, your irrigation system far exceeded in scale and sophistication anything existing in Europe. That great chronicle the Mahavamsa, has passed down to us the story of your island’s development.”

 The Mahavansa and the history it contained would probably  have been lost in the mists of antiquity if not for the  indefatigable efforts of a Civil Servant by the name George Turnour.

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Leonard Woolf in Pictures: New Finds

Michael Roberts

I have chanced upon several ‘new’ photographs of Woolf –some on his own and a few with his wife Virginia. I present them here as another ‘chapter’ in the Leonard Woolf series in Thuppahi. They are placed in rough chronological order on the basis of my readings of his age in each picture.  Repetition has been avoided –so they make up a supplement to the previous items on Woolf placed in Thuppahi this year.

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Sandadas Coperahewa’s Lifework

A Bibliography of Published/Unpublished Work by Sandadas Coperahewa (1923 – 2022)


Books:
යුර ෝපා කලාරේ ලුහුඬු ඉතිහාසරේ සිංහල රපරැළිය හා යුර ෝපා කලා රහළ කලා සසදුව (1958)
[The Sinhala Translation of R.H. Wilenkski’s A Miniature History of European Art and a Comparative Study of European and Sinhalese Art]
 රෙරේ හිමි සෙරුව ( 1991) …. [A commemorative poem on Ven. Pamburana Metteyya Thera of Vajirarama]
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 1 : රලරයෝනාරදෝ දා වින්ි (1992)
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 2 : ෙයිකල් ඇන්ිරලෝ ( 1997)
 ජගේ කලාකරු කතන්ද – 3 : ෆාරයල් ( 1998) …………………. A series of books on World famous artists – Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael 

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Vale: Two Appreciations of Sandadas Coperahewa

Mevan Pieris, presenting the Funeral Oration for Sandadas Coperahewa, teacher of S.Thomas’ College Mt Lavinia, Tuesday 7th June 2022.... [with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi]

We are gathered here this evening to pay our final respects to a great teacher. In my days in the School by the sea in the 1950s and 1960s, Mr Sandadas Coperahewa was my revered teacher in art and Sinhala, and I thought I should pay a tribute to him as he is the last of my teachers to depart with all other sacred spirits who taught me having gone ahead.

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Leonard Woolf’s Remarkable Novel

Nick Rankin, in BBCnews, 23 May 2014, where the title runs thus: “Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel” …… The Bloomsbury Group and Sri Lanka are rarely spoken of in the same breath, but that is partly because Leonard Woolf’s groundbreaking first novel, The Village in the Jungle, is unjustly ignored, argues writer and broadcaster Nick Rankin.

She was born Virginia Stephen, daughter of the Victorian bookman Sir Leslie Stephen, but when she married in 1912, her name changed to Virginia Woolf, and she went on to become the best-known woman writer of the 20th Century.

 

Her lesser-known husband, Leonard Woolf, however, wrote and published a novel first. That almost forgotten book, first published in 1913, is called The Village in the Jungle and it is a remarkable work because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than the coloniser’s.

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Sumana Saparamadu: An Appreciative Vale from 2016

Lalitha Karalliadde Witanachchi, in the Sunday Observer, 8 May 2016, with this title “Epitome of Generosity, Kindness and Loyalty” **

The death occurred on April 15 [2016] of well-known journalist Sumana Saparamadu at the age of 92. She was born in Havelock Road, Wellawatte in the home of her parents Mr and Mrs. D.C. Saparamadu. Her father was a well-known apothecary who worked for several years in Kadugannawa, where Sumana spent her childhood “in the beautiful hill country with mist-laden hills and the train winding its way upcountry”, as she was wont to tell me when recalling her happy childhood.

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Leonard Woolf’s Humanist Empathy & Discernment

The Sivasambu Colloquium on 29th April 2012 entitledWoolf the humanist who empathized with the vulnerable” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Jane Russell and Ruth Allaun continued their account of the Seminar on Leonard Woolf organised by Nathan Sivasambu, Coordinator of the Ceylon Bloomsbury Group, convenors of the seminar, with the assistance of Dr. Shamil Wanigasekera and Dulmini Wimalasekera at University of London Union, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London on May 24, 2011.

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Lessons from Woolf for a Latter-Day American

Joe Kovacs, in Literary Traveller, 23 June 2005, where the title reads as The Accidental British Servant: Leonard Woolf in Ceylon”

When I joined the Peace Corps and went to Sri Lanka in 1997, I took a leave of absence from a graduate program in English literature at Fordham University. I was unhappy with academia as an aspiring creative writer; I wanted to make literature, not analyze it. I had no idea how international development work in Asia could help, but at least it would provide a long-overdue vacation from education. I’d never left the United States before, and after an exhausting trip west from New York through San Francisco, Tokyo and Bangkok, the third flight of my trans-global journey arrived in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo at two in the morning. I spent the rest of those benighted, pre-dawn hours in a retreat center in the jungle, trying to sleep. But the dense heat drenched me in sweat, even as I lay still in bed, the uncompromising mattress made my back sore and a swooping blue mosquito net left me entombed. Had I just made a mistake? From the jungle outside came a sudden high-pitched screech, convincing me that I’d come to a land of monsters.

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Leonard Woolf in Ceylon: A Pictorial Excursion

A Collection derived from Digital internet sources  and with special thanks to Hugh Karunanayake in Melbourne for some great finds, including the shot of the New Oriental Hotel in Galle Fort in the 1910s, the dhony and the coastal steamers plying the island’s coasts.

Young Leonard Woolf    …. & then a mustachioed Woolf


 

 

 

 

 

Woolf and his dogs in Jaffna

 

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Leonard Woolf: Innocent Imperialist turned Pragmatic Internationalist

Jane Russell

Leonard Woolf  &  Arthur C Clarke

Foreword:  “When I’m in the Strand or 42nd Street, or at NASA Headquarters or the Beverley Hills Hotel, my surroundings are liable to give a sudden tremor and I see through the insubstantial fabric to the reality beneath…” These words by Arthur C. Clarke, the sci-fi writer, are quoted at the end of Roloff Beny’s photographic chronicle “Island Ceylon”. But where does Clark’s reality reside? He writes, “No other place is so convincing as Sri Lanka,” and as he spent almost fifty years there, we are tempted to believe him. Continue reading

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