The Creation of Anne Boleyn: Book summary and reviews of The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen

By Susan Bordo

The Creation of Anne Boleyn
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2013,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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

"A great read for Boleyn fans and fanatics alike, though not for readers seeking a general biography of the queen." - Kirkus

"Susan Bordo astutely re-examines Anne's life and death anew and peels away the layers of untruth and myth that have accumulated since. The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a refreshing, iconoclastic and moving look at one of history's most intriguing women. It is rare to find a book that rouses one to scholarly glee, feminist indignation and empathetic tears, but this is such a book." - Suzannah Lipscomb

"If you think you know who Anne Boleyn was, think again. In this rigorously argued yet deliciously readable book, Susan Bordo bursts through the dead weight of cultural stereotypes and historical clichés to disentangle the fictions that we have created from the fascinating, elusive woman that Henry VIII tried - unsuccessfully - to erase from historical memory. This is a book that has long been needed to set the record straight, and Bordo knocked it out of the park. Brava!" - Robin Maxwell, national bestselling author of Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Mademoiselle Boleyn

"In The Creation of Anne Boleyn, we watch Anne Boleyn the woman transform into Anne Boleyn the legend - a fascinating journey. Susan Bordo covers Anne's historical footprints and her afterlife in art, fiction, poetry, theater and cinema, each change reflecting the concerns of a different era. Meticulous, thoughtful, persuasive—and fun." - Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I: The Novel

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Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight and The Male Body.

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