Monday, March 07, 2011

A Dialogue Upon Mount Pentecilus, by: Virginia Woolf

A Dialogue Upon Mount Pentecilus is another story in my collection The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf. I read the story, then in the notes section at the back I discovered that Woolf never published this story. It was discovered and published posthumously. It was presumably written in 1906 following a trip Woolf took to Greece and to the title mount.

Normally, I enjoy Woolf’s work, but not this time. The story was boring. It meandered through the plot, though I can’t really speak of a concrete plot. People spoke (hence “dialogue”) and there was a bit of a reveal at the end. Mostly, it was like overhearing the conversation of a few British people talking about what Greeks were like in ancient times versus who they are today.

I think there was a reason Woolf never published this story. It feels unfinished. Once I read that it was published posthumously, I felt more confident in my opinion. Unless you’re a studier of Woolf, I wouldn’t recommend Mount Pentecilus. There are much better, more interesting and complete works of Woolf’s out there to be read.

Thanks to John Mutford at The Book Mine Set for hosting Short Story Monday.


  1. Not having been to Greece, I'm curious to read her description of the setting-- can you get a sense of Greece?

  2. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I'm interested in the collection. I find that most collections have some great stories and some weak stories.

  3. John, the sense of Greece you get is about the people and that's just from the opinions of the characters. The description of the setting is nice, but I'm not sure the feeling is there.

    Teddy, so far, I really like the rest of the collection. I think this is third story from it I've reviewed. Plus, I've read a few others.

  4. I've had difficulties with some of Woolf's short stores; I generally prefer her novels.