Supernatural Shakespeare: Magic and Ritual in Merry Old England (Paperback)

Supernatural Shakespeare: Magic and Ritual in Merry Old England By J. Snodgrass Cover Image

Supernatural Shakespeare: Magic and Ritual in Merry Old England (Paperback)


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Immerse yourself in Shakespeare's magical world, filled with supernatural encounters with faeries, ghosts and witches. Frolic with royalty, wander through forests, and experience love layered with enchantment. The Bard’s use of these fantastical phenomena has had a tremendous and enduring influence on authors and audiences for more than four centuries. But what are their origins? Explore the folk beliefs and literary sources that influenced Shakespeare and discover how he assembled his own masterful portraits of these phenomena, giving his plays vibrant life and his characters unforgettable personalities.
The best advice j. Snodgrass ever received as a writer was, "Don't write what you know, write what you would like to read." To which he adds, "And learn it before you write it." This is what led to Supernatural Shakespeare. After many years of merely liking or disliking Shakespeare's plays, he decided to learn them. However, he could not find the one book he really would have liked to read; it did not yet exist. So he wrote it. Snodgrass studies, teaches, and writes about myth and ritual, and as a college professor he explores the connections between mythology and sociology in religions.
Product Details ISBN: 9781942483922
ISBN-10: 1942483929
Publisher: New Idea Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2022
Pages: 260
Language: English
“The perfect comprehensive introduction to the supernatural as represented by Shakespeare, a gift to all students in its clarity, with some good moments for colleagues as well.” —Ronald Hutton, author of Pagan Britain


“Fairies and dwarves, ghosts and magic, rites and rituals, wizards and weirdos, natural and supernatural: these are the topics of Supernatural Shakespeare. Snodgrass argues that it would be a mistake to look for coherence in Shakespeare’s English fairy-lore because Shakespeare wrote for his audiences and “cherry-picked from a wide range of folk and literary traditions” to please those audiences. Contemporary audiences and readers (and perhaps especially academics) may have very different expectations than Shakespeare’s original audiences." —Simon C. Estok, author of Ecocriticism and Shakespeare and The Ecophobia Hypothesis

“From the fairies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the witches of Macbeth, from Hamlet’s ghost to The Tempest’s Ariel, Shakespeare’s plays teem with supernatural beings and events. These speak to the popular understanding of Shakespeare’s day, on one hand, while on the other hand investing his works with an air of the magical and divine. J. Snodgrass’s Supernatural Shakespeare: Magic and Ritual in Merry Old England studies this material intently, teasing out its basis in ritual and lore while also placing it within the practices and conventions of Shakespeare’s theater itself. The result is an engaging, readable, and informative study. ” —Bruce Boehrer, author of Shakespeare Among the Animals and Environmental Degradation in Jacobean Drama

“The style of the book is playful and will certainly appeal to younger people and curious beginners. It certainly provides a lot of fascinating insights and I can only hope that it will encourage more interest in Shakespeare and in the English Renaissance.” —François Laroque, author of Shakespeare's Festive World