I spoke to author Glenn Dixon recently about his book ‘Juliet’s Answer’. Glenn was jaded by love and even though he had specialised in teaching the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to students for many years, he didn’t believe in a love dictated by fate. In his musings in ‘Juliet’s Answer’ he dissects love to a scientific process rather than an emotional one.
Perhaps in the hopes he will be proved wrong and real love does exist he visits Verona, the city which arguably gave us the purest example of love in fiction, ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Ironically, in Glenn’s travels in that city he discovers that what he thought was fiction was in instead based on historical fact.
Glenn learns from one of Juliet’s ‘secretaries’ (the people that reply to letters sent to Juliet) that 300 years before Shakespeare’s play Dante mentions the story of the tragic lovers in his ‘Divine Comedy’ canto 106-108.
Each year the lovelorn send their letters to Juliet for advice on what they should do in matters of the heart. The letters to Juliet first began arriving at the monastery of Church of San Francesco al Corso, the place reportedly, where Romeo and Juliet married and where Juliet’s sarcophagus rests. At the beginning of the arrival of the letters the ground keeper took care of the mail but eventually an actual office was set up, where a core number of ‘secretaries’ replied on Juliet’s behalf under the auspices of the lovely Giovanna, whose father formed the Juliet society. Glenn joins this band of volunteers, hoping along the way to get his own answer. When he meets Desiree who is also unsure about love he may be on the way to discovering Juliet’s Answer.
‘Juliet’s Answer’ is out now published by Affirm Press.