Book of the Month: The Creation of Anne Boleyn
Author: Susan Bordo
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: April 9, 2013
How Acquired: Bought
What it's about: Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life. How could Henry order the execution of a once beloved wife? Drawing on scholarship and critical analysis, Bordo probes the complexities of one of history’s most infamous relationships.
Bordo also shows how generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers imagined and re-imagined Anne: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto “mean girl,” feminist icon, and everything in between. In this lively book, Bordo steps off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the competing mythologies.
What the critics are saying:
"A great read for Boleyn fans and fanatics alike"
"Ms. Bordo offers a fascinating discussion... a strangely tasty book."—The New York Times
"The University of Kentucky humanities chair does a superb job of separating fact from fiction in contemporary accounts of Boleyn’s life, before deftly deconstructing the myriad and contradictory portraits of her that have arisen in the centuries since her death. . . . The young queen has been the source of fascination for nearly half a millennium, and her legacy continues; this engaging portrait culminates with an intriguing exploration of Boleyn’s recent reemergence in pop culture." —Publishers Weekly
About the author: SUSAN BORDO, Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight and The Male Body.
My thoughts: It seemed fitting that I should choose The Creation of Anne Boleyn on the anniversary of Anne Boleyn's execution. When I first picked up this book, I felt a sense of schadenfreude. This was a book that I wish that I had written but once I started reading it, I felt a sense of kinship with the author. She gets it! She was just as obssessed with Anne Boleyn as I am! If you were annoyed with The Tudors or you just want to dig deep into the life of Anne Boleyn and how people's perceptions of her have changed over the centuries, I urge you to pick up a copy of this book. It is must for every Anne Boleyn fan out tehre.
You and your readers might also enjoy my recent blog on Huffington Post about Anne Boleyn myths: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-bordo-/anne-boleyn-myths-debunke_b_3294547.html.