Her first novel, Miss Garnett’s Angel, was a word of mouth best-seller. It is set in that Shakespeare of cities, Venice, and takes self and spiritual discovery its themes. It is also written around the Book of Tobit. Salley was fascinated to see the wall paintings depicting the story of Tobias and the Angel in the bar of the White Swan Hotel.
Importantly, Salley is a trained psychoanalyst. During her lecture she seemed to step inside Hamlet and think carefully and subtly through it. She spoke of how watching and reading the play is like experiencing a problem, a classic psychological bind. Hamlet believes the Ghost, but the Ghost requires that he commits murder. What should audiences and readers of the play believe and why? She spoke dazzlingly from the mind and the heart to a lecture hall full of people at Mason Croft. The event was co-hosted by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
You can listen to Salley’s lecture by clicking on the audio-post below. The recording includes the question and answer session at the end. I tried to repeat the questions, but some of them became short exchanges, so apologies if you can’t hear some of what it being said in this part of the recording. Salley’s own responses ring out clearly.