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The Creation of Anne Boleyn: In Search of the Tudors' Most Notorious Queen
 
 

The Creation of Anne Boleyn: In Search of the Tudors' Most Notorious Queen [Kindle Edition]

Susan Bordo
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Review

'Refreshing, iconoclastic and moving.'

(Suzannah Lipscomb, broadcaster and author of 1536)

'Eloquent...Strong and discerning.'

(Natalie Dormer, actress, Anne Boleyn in the BBC series ‘The Tudors’)

'Engrossing… a fascinating discussion.'

(New York Times)

‘Absorbing… striking jacket too.'

(The Bookseller)

One of the top ten royal history books of 2013

(The Royal Historian)

'Moving, disconcerting and exhilarating… I loved it.'

(Literary Review)

'Lively… an interesting and timely reappraisal of representations of Anne in the years since her death.'

(Sunday Telegraph)

‘Energetic and delightful...Bordo has reclaimed Anne for a new generation.’

(Amy Licence, author of In Bed with the Tudors)

'With telling quotations and a piquant sense of humour, Susan Bordo offers readers a fascinating and intelligent insight into historical story-telling. Incisive and perceptive.'

(Susan Doran, University of Oxford, author of The Tudor Chronicles)

'Bearing her scholarship lightly and writing with fire and wit, Susan Bordo asks a profound question: what is real in history? A smashing book.'

(Howard Brenton, author and playwright of Anne Boleyn)

'Deeply innovative, insightful and multi-layered...turns previously conceived notions on their heads. Highly recommended.'

(Elizabeth Norton, author of The Boleyn Women)

'If you think you know who Anne Boleyn was, think again. Rigorously argued yet deliciously readable...Bordo knocks it out of the park. Brava!'

(Robin Maxwell, author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and Mademoiselle Boleyn)

'Meticulous, thoughtful, persuasive – and fun.'

(Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I)

'By turns sassy and serious, playful and profound, Susan Bordo cuts through the layers of legend, fantasy and untruth that history and culture have attached to Anne Boleyn, while proving that the facts about that iconic queen are every bit as intriguing as the fictions.'

(Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution)

'Bordo has pulled off an important coup...reminds us that, while history is fascinating, so is the history of history. Enthralling.'

(Derek Wilson, author of A Brief History of Henry VIII)

'Beautiful, intelligent and true.'

(Geneviève Bujold, actress, Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days)

'Delightfully cheeky, solidly researched.'

(Daily Beast)

'[Bordo 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.'

(Publishers Weekly)

'A great read for Boleyn fans and fanatics alike.'

(Kirkus Reviews)

'Entertaining [and] provocative.'

(Boston Globe)

"By her own confession, philosopher Susan Bordo is obsessed with Anne Boleyn. The very cover of her new book alerts the reader to the fact they are about to experience something more than straightforward history… This isn't just a narrative of the controversies of Anne's life, although Bordo achieves that with clarity and insight, it is an energetic and delightful deconstruction of Anne as an icon, for a post-modern audience…

Without question, this book is going to prove controversial. In fact, it already has. Dismissed by some academics on the basis of the cover alone, considered a travesty and insult to the Queen, its tone of irreverent reverence has already irked some readers used to a more traditional narrative approach. This is a shame, as Bordo's style will embrace a whole new readership and strides boldly into new territory…

Even for those who come to the text with a background in the period, there are still surprising discoveries to be made in the way that the Victorians perceived Anne and her feisty post-war construction…

Perhaps most enjoyable of all is the personal nature of The Creation of Anne Boleyn. Readers are invited to accompany Bordo on her own voyage of discovery, sharing her own experiences in the search for Anne, from being hit by a London bus to her conversations with actress Natalie Dormer… Recent years have seen far too much belittling of popular history and Bordo bravely strides into the no-man's land between serious historical narratives and the perceived "dumbing-down" of shows designed to entertain. The Creation of Anne Boleyn represents a new approach to an old topic, an iconoclastic study of how modern culture has appropriated the sixteenth century for its own purposes. Bordo has reclaimed Anne for a new generation."

(Amy Licence, Huffington Post)

'An exposé of Tudor history as tittle-tattle: A jaunty canter through all the wildly differing views of Anne Boleyn across the centuries.'

(Mail on Sunday)

'An interesting and timely reappraisal'

(Irish Independent)

'Bordo rightly observes that the attempt to erase Anne from history had a different result to the one Henry had intended. Deprived of hard facts about her, Anne was not forgotten but instead became a kind of metaphor for successive generations to vent their idée fixes.'

(Independent)

Review

'Eloquent…Strong and discerning.' Natalie Dormer, actress, Anne Boleyn in the BBC series ‘The Tudors’

‘Energetic and delightful... Bordo has reclaimed Anne for a new generation.’ Amy Licence, author of In Bed with the Tudors

‘With telling quotations and a piquant sense of humour, Susan Bordo offers readers a fascinating and intelligent insight into historical story-telling. Incisive and perceptive.’ Susan Doran, University of Oxford, author of The Tudor Chronicles

‘Bearing her scholarship lightly and writing with fire and wit, Susan Bordo asks a profound question: what is real in history? A smashing book.’ Howard Brenton, author and playwright of Anne Boleyn

‘Deeply innovative, insightful and multi-layered... turns previously conceived notions on their heads. Highly recommended.’ Elizabeth Norton, author of The Boleyn Women

‘By turns sassy and serious, playful and profound, Susan Bordo cuts through the layers of legend, fantasy and untruth that history and culture have attached to Anne Boleyn, while proving that the facts about that iconic queen are every bit as intriguing as the fictions.’ Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

'Bordo has pulled off an important coup... reminds us that, while history is fascinating, so is the history of history. Enthralling.’Derek Wilson, author of A Brief History of Henry VIII

'Beautiful, intelligent and true.’ Geneviève Bujold, actress, Anne Boleyn in Anne of the Thousand Days

'Delightfully cheeky, solidly researched.’ The Daily Beast

'A great read for Boleyn fans and fanatics alike.’ Kirkus Reviews

'Entertaining [and] provocative.’ The Boston Globe

'Refreshing, iconoclastic and moving. 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, broadcaster and author of 1536

'Moving, disconcerting and exhilarating… The Creation of Anne Boleyn exemplifies some of the qualities that even Anne’s enemies allowed her: it is passionate, quarrelsome and intelligent… I loved it.'
Literary Review

'By her own confession, philosopher Susan Bordo is obsessed with Anne Boleyn. The very cover of her new book alerts the reader to the fact they are about to experience something more than straightforward history… This isn't just a narrative of the controversies of Anne's life, although Bordo achieves that with clarity and insight, it is an energetic and delightful deconstruction of Anne as an icon, for a post-modern audience… Without question, this book is going to prove controversial...Bordo's style will embrace a whole new readership and strides boldly into new territory… Even for those who come to the text with a background in the period, there are still surprising discoveries to be made in the way that the Victorians perceived Anne and her feisty post-war construction… Perhaps most enjoyable of all is the personal nature of The Creation of Anne Boleyn. Readers are invited to accompany Bordo on her own voyage of discovery, sharing her own experiences in the search for Anne, from being hit by a London bus to her conversations with actress Natalie Dormer… Recent years have seen far too much belittling of popular history and Bordo bravely strides into the no-man's land between serious historical narratives and the perceived "dumbing-down" of shows designed to entertain. The Creation of Anne Boleyn represents a new approach to an old topic, an iconoclastic study of how modern culture has appropriated the sixteenth century for its own purposes. Bordo has reclaimed Anne for a new generation.'
Huffington Post

'Lively… an interesting and timely reappraisal of representations of Anne in the years since her death.'
Sunday Telegraph

'Engrossing… a fascinating discussion.'
New York Times

'If you think you know who Anne Boleyn was, think again. Rigorously argued yet deliciously readable...Bordo knocks it out of the park. Brava!' Robin Maxwell, author of The Secret Diary of Anne

'Meticulous, thoughtful, persuasive – and fun.'
Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I

'An exposé of Tudor history as tittle-tattle: A jaunty canter through all the wildly differing views of Anne Boleyn across the centuries.'
Mail on Sunday

'Bordo 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.'
Publishers Weekly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2390 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1780743653
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HN4F4B6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Susan Bordo is known for the clarity, accessibility, and contemporary relevance of her writing. Her first book, The Flight to Objectivity, has become a classic of feminist philosophy. In 1993, increasingly aware of our culture's preoccupation with weight and body image, she published Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, a book that is still widely read and assigned in classes today. During speaking tours for that book, she encountered many young men who asked, "What about us?" The result was The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (1999). Both books were highly praised by reviewers, with Unbearable Weight named a 1993 Notable Book by the New York Times and The Male Body featured in Mademoiselle, Elle, Vanity Fair, NPR, and MSNBC. Both books have been translated into many languages, and individual chapters, many of which are considered paradigms of lucid writing, are frequently re-printed in collections and writing textbooks. She is also the author of several collections of essays, and many well-known, frequently reprinted articles. Forthcoming is Breaking the Surface: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought, coedited with Ellen Rosenman and Cristina Alcalde, to be published by University of California Press in 2014.

Bordo's most recent book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2013 to critical acclaim. In it, Bordo draws on historical scholarship and cultural studies to probe the complexities and challenge the mythology surrounding Anne Boleyn's life and afterlife, exploring 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. The UK edition, The Creation of Anne Boleyn: In Search of the Tudors' Most Notorious Queen will be published by Oneworld Publications in January 2014.

For full press reviews of the U.S. edition of The Creation of Anne Boleyn, see:
http://susanbordopress.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/and-the-reviews-are-coming-in/.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have! 30 Dec. 2013
By Sarah
Format:Hardcover
Through my interest in Anne Boleyn and Tudor history I have read many books which look at and recount the life of Anne Boleyn, where she was born, when she started her relationship with Henry VIII, how she was executed; yet never before have I read a book like the one written by Susan Bordo. Bordo's book is not a simple retelling of Anne Boleyn's life, nor is it an attempt to examine how she might have felt or the motives behind her actions - Bordo's book is a look at Anne Boleyn and how she has been portrayed throughout history. From the generations after her death to almost five hundred centuries later in today's modern times.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn is just as the title suggests - an examination of how Anne Boleyn has been formed, portrayed, reformed and portrayed again throughout the centuries. Bordo looks at the different interpretations of Anne Boleyn, her actions and her life throughout different time periods and examines why certain beliefs and feelings developed. For example during Mary I's reign Anne was seen as a whore, the woman who stole Queen Katherine, Mary I's mother away from her husband. Yet in Elizabeth's reign, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, Anne was seen as a reformer and a remarkable woman. Why the changes in attitude to a single woman? Differences in culture, beliefs and allegiances.

I loved this book and have to say that it is one of my favourite books about Anne Boleyn. The Creation of Anne Boleyn is not just simple biography of Anne and her life; it is an examination of how Anne Boleyn has been portrayed throughout the centuries and why these different portrayals have come to be. This book encourages readers to find out the truth about the real Anne Boleyn and not to take everything they see or read as simple fact.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new narrative on Anne 27 Jan. 2014
Format:Hardcover
The Creation of Anne Boleyn is only minimally a biography of Anne Boleyn. Instead, much of the focus is placed on the stories and mystique surrounding this famous queen, and how the "facts" and attitudes about her were developed. This was a fascinating book, which I feel I need to read over at least once more, as there is no way I could have absorbed everything in just one reading.

Bordo's analysis is fairly no-nonsense, taking on many of the accepted "facts" about Anne's life and death in a matter of fact way. She zeroes in on the less believable conclusions drawn by many modern historians and quite clearly deconstructs these notions. Bordo is extremely well informed and precise, clearly documenting what makes sense, and eviscerating the ideas that do not. Even so, I found her criticism well thought out and quite reasonable, rather than coming across as the catty disagreement professional criticism often appears to be (especially surrounding such a polarizing figure.)

In the book, we are taken from the rhetoric of Anne's lifetime, through that of her daughter and up to the present day. It is fascinating to see how each incarnation of Anne over the years has been shaped by the societal conciousness of the time. Is Anne portrayed as she was? Or as we want her to be? And how much does society overall care about the difference?

Being a longtime "Tudorphile", I found Bordo's conversational style very easy to read and relate to. While I have read criticism of her habit of interjecting personal anecdotes, I found it a very friendly, approachable method of communicating that she is not so different from those of us reading the book (although naturally, a much better writer!)

This book is not a biography, nor is it meant to be.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Cultural History of 2013 4 Jan. 2014
Format:Hardcover
I love books that are just as much historiography as history; sometimes it can be just as interesting to dissect the "known" story and how it came to be as telling the story itself. This may seem an odd preference from a blogger of historical fiction but it's actually what a lot of good historical fiction does. It removes the stereotypes, the images from movies and TV and (yes) the bad historical novels. It reminds you that these characters didn't always exist in books - they were real people. This can be surprisingly hard to remember when you've read a dozen novels about Henry VIII.

I've been reading about Anne Boleyn for two decades now and thought that I couldn't possibly come across a book that would make me consider her in a new way. Susan Bordo's Boleyn did the impossible - it made me excited to read about the Tudors again while reminding me to approach history and historical fiction with curiosity and a questioning mind.

Boleyn is divided into three parts: the first part is a kind of mini-biography of Boleyn but with the very clear purpose of examining the known sources on her life and evaluating their veracity. The fascinating final chapter in the section asks "Henry: How Could He Do It?" This is the first biography of Anne (at least that I can remember) that asks such a question and doesn't treat her death on the scaffold as the inevitable end point of her life.

The second part looks at how Anne's death laid the groundwork for subsequent centuries' making and re-making of her image. It's incredible to see how many different faces the historical Anne acquired in the progression towards the present day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing really new
I looked forward to reading this following the other reviews but really was left a little disappointed by it. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Anne Arnold
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book! Really enjoyable, a must read for all AB fans.
Published 1 month ago by Roberto Ilario Conti
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and Insightful
How do you review a book you wish you could've written? The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo is an intelligent and thought provoking read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Hunter S. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Call of the search, we've found Anne!
Truly the best book on Anne Boleyn I have yet to read. Though some reviews call it biased I must disagree, I find it the most unbiased book I have read and the ideas the author... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Melaina
1.0 out of 5 stars Overshadowed
I'm struggling to read this book at the moment as any interesting parts are completely over shadowed by the author constantly bad mouthing other writers on the subject. Read more
Published 8 months ago by butter-puff
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history and a fun read
If you're fascinated by Queen Anne Boleyn, Susan Bordo provides a wonderful review of historical and media images from start to finish. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Victoria Bynum
1.0 out of 5 stars for the casual tudorphile only
I am incredibly interested in tudor history, in particular Anne Boleyn. I unfortunately found only approx one third of this e book to be in the slightest bit interesting. Read more
Published 9 months ago by princess sophie
4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting points
This book attempts to review the known facts about Anne Boleyn and rebut some of the accumulated folk wisdom, if that is the word, about her. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all lovers of Anne Boleyn
Susan Bordo's book is part biography and part cultural history. I first came across her work via her blog, which is a lively and exciting forum for discussion of all things Tudor. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Conor Byrne
3.0 out of 5 stars Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn is one of the most written about yet least understood characters from British history and so, with The Creation of Anne Boleyn, Susan Bordo has set out to uncover the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Erin Britton
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