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Shakespeare’s Goddess: The Divine Feminine on the English Stage

(7 customer reviews)

Today, Shakespeare’s works are classics and his characters have achieved mythical status. But what did William Shakespeare consider great myths and classics? And who were the empowering role models for his bold and unforgettable heroines?


In plays and poems throughout his prolific career, Shakespeare explored many facets of the divine feminine including both Greek and Roman goddesses—he nearly deified Queen Elizabeth. His characters frequently refer to classical goddesses, some plays actually feature appearances of goddesses onstage, and the goddess of love starred in his epic poem Venus and Adonis.


Shakespeare’s Goddess explores the poet’s many representations of the divine feminine, as a pantheon of individual deities and also as diverse manifestations of a single, multifaceted goddess.


This sequel to Supernatural Shakespeare delves deep into Shakespeare’s use of Greek and Roman myths to explore the surprisingly wide variety of goddesses that populate his plays and poems in his lifelong quest for the divine feminine. Sufficiently researched and documented to be useful to scholars, but with an engaging and humorous tone that makes it fun and accessible for anyone who appreciates Shakespeare.


The sequel to Supernatural Shakespeare: Magic and Ritual in Merry Old England (Paperback: 978-1-942483-92-2 | ebook: 978-1-942483-93-9)


Meet the Author



7 reviews for Shakespeare’s Goddess: The Divine Feminine on the English Stage

  1. Vicky Wraight

    Thank you to City of Light Publishing for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for review!

    J. Snodgrass does what I think any Shakespeare scholar or student should do well: make Shakespeare accessible. His style makes the text enjoyable and humorous, rather than some dull assigned reading you’d find in a 400-level college course.

    I’ve never read All’s Well That Ends Well, but not only did his summary make the analysis easy to follow, it also better connected with a modern reader:

    “[In All’s Well That Ends Well,] Helena has set her sights on Bertram, a frivolous frat boy who can be best described with the modern half-word ‘bro.’ Flipflops and tank-tops hadn’t been invented yet, but that’s who this guy is. What Helena sees in this fop is a mystery for the ages.”

    While a majority of the book had an incredible flow from one topic to the next, I feel like the theme of the divine feminine occasionally got lost within textual analysis. But then I’d reach another stunning visual in the book and be content again.

    And because I wouldn’t be a true Buffalonian if I didn’t mention it, I loved that Snodgrass included insight and quotes from players in Delaware Street’s Shakespeare in the Park. Snodgrass giving the stage (pun intended) to Buffalo, NY, lovers of Shakespeare warmed my heart.

    I’d like to once again thank City of Light Publishing for this ARC in exchange for a review; this was an incredibly fun book, even for someone who doesn’t typically reach for nonfiction titles.

  2. Lauren M.

    As a teacher of Shakespeare, I enjoy getting my hands on as much reading material as possible. I was thrilled to be given an early copy of Shakespeare’s Goddess! J. Snodgrass takes all the Shakespeare knowledge and makes it more approachable for those familiar and unfamiliar with the content.

    My favorite was all the connections to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Having taught this play for over a decade, I assumed I knew all there was to know and I assumed wrong. Every page I devoured was new knowledge and I appreciated leaving the book knowing more.

    An easily accessible approach to Shakespeare, you’ll learn more than you did at the start after reading.

  3. Kathryn McLeer

    This had everything I was looking for and a non-fiction book about Shakespeare. It had everything that I was hoping for when I read the description and I thought the concept was interesting. I never really thought about the femininity in Shakespeare’s work. John Snodgrass has a great writing style. And you could tell he researched this perfectly. I was engaged with what was what I read, and I kept wanting to read more.

  4. Marina Oliveira

    I loved everything about this book. Just the concept of the book made me predict that I would really love it and it did not disappoint. I learned so much more about Shakespeare’s work and about mythology. I really liked the structure of the book. I’m not familiar with Shakespeare’s whole body of work, so this book ended up making me quite curious about reading the ones I haven’t read yet. I’m now going to read them with all this context in mind. The book is such a comprehensive study that it felt like reading a doctoral thesis. I needed to read the book with a notebook next to me and I took so many notes so I could retain at least a small percentage of the information. At the same time, it is written in a simple and accessible way so it was very easy for someone who doesn’t have much background in this area to understand it. I really liked the excerpts chosen and the illustrations. My favourite part of this reading experience was realizing how much of a fan Shakespeare was of Ovid (I am also an Ovid fan). My favourite chapter was the one about Egypt because it was the topic I knew the least about and learned the most about. I will definitely return to this book as a reference many times.

  5. Anna Thau

    This was a great read about Shakespeare’s insights and makes a great book up for discussion! I think this is incredibly amazing for a book club that’s into classics.

  6. Mary Truglia

    This was a fascinating insight into how Shakespeare presents the non-mortal feminine figure in his plays. While I did not agree with all of Snodgrass’ readings, I still think that this could be a valuable text for class discussion, for both folks in Renaissance Studies/Shakespeare explicitly, or drama more broadly.
    Rounding 3.5 to 4 stars.

  7. Gemma Fechner

    I found ‘Shakespear’s Goddess’ really interesting it was a good read and I enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it to anyone

    Rating 4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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