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The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen Audio Download – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pondered this book for a while before ordering it. I'm glad I bought it. The writer has split the book into two sections: one of which re-examines the known facts of Anne's life leading up to her eventual downfall and execution. Anne comes across as more complicated than one might think - scheming gold digger, or sacrificial lamb for the cause of the new religion, or innocent victim of her mercurial husband? We are presented with a very nuanced take on the situation, including a phsychological profile of Henry the Eighth based on the nature of his pampered, largely female dominated, somewhat disfunctional upbringing. This interpretation of his character,as a spoilt and self-centred man, even in his younger days, shows him as a creature of extremes in his friendships and affections. Many people whom he once loved and lionised (Anne B. included) were turned on eventually, as they somehow "let him down", often in ways that they themselves did not understand. By loving or caring about a person, he was in effect giving them an element of power over him, and this he could not tolerate. This aspect of the book is well presented and well argued. Anne herself swore before witnesses, on the brink of death and trusting in the reality of her immortal soul (which as a believer she could not risk perjuring) that she was innocent of any sexual betrayal of Henry. Would such a devout woman have lied at such a critical moment?

The second part concentrates on how we, her public down the centuries, have interpreted her story in all its complexity, in fiction, in film, on TV and in biography. This endless fascination has rendered her simultaneously both extremely familiar and utterly unknowable.
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Format: Hardcover
Lucid, sensible, and cogently presented, The Creation of Anne Boleyn explains to the general reader why you shouldn't believe everything you've heard about Anne, and, for the Anne enthusiasts, explores in some depth Anne in all her later interpretations over the centuries, from stage plays to film to historical fiction novels.

Admittedly, certain sections didn't interest me as much as others. I was far more fascinated by the modern re-imaginings of Anne than the sections on the early plays about her, for example, but that's just personal interests coming to bear. I was pretty astonished when Bordo writes that at talks when she asks people what do they know about Anne the top responses were still the gossipy falsities concocted by the likes of hostile writers such as Catholic propagandist Nicholas Sanders (who, in any case, wrote decades after Anne's death and never met her) - the old six fingers, witchcraft, incest, adultery chestnuts. I couldn't quite believe that with all the research that has been done in the past few decades to disprove and dispel much of this nonsense that the baseless myths still cling on with a tight grip in the public consciousness.

This is why books like The Creation of Anne Boleyn are important. Some academics sniff at "popular histories", written for the accessibility of the general reader in mind, but I think their importance cannot be overstated. The Creation of Anne Boleyn cuts through the fog of rumour and scandal to present the facts and get people to think about why they maybe should question the reliability of sources from the past. Bordo approaches Anne from the perspective of an expert in gender studies, not a traditional historian, and explores not only historical Anne but her connection to later people, and how she is reinterpreted and used by later groups with their own worldview.

It's a smooth, easy read that I tore through in a couple of days, it was that much of a page-turner.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I never write reviews to the books I buy because there are so many semi-professionals out there doing it and much better than I ever could. But I really enjoyed this cultural historian's take and loved the 'created' image of Anne Boleyn on the front cover!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly readable, interesting and thought provoking. An excellent and refreshing read on Anne Boleyn, I really enjoyed it, and if you love everything AB you must read it. Well done Susan Bordo !
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Format: Hardcover
I received a copy of The Creation of Anne Boleyn from the Goodreads First Reads program.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn looks into the reasons behind the current view that the world has of the most notorious of Henry VIII's Queens, Anne Boleyn. Looking into the modern interpretations of Anne's character.

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I don't often actually read non-fiction books, but this one was very easy to read, interesting and captivating. I particularly liked the way which Bordo took the different Annes in fiction and TV/film and deconstructed them, showing where the image of them came from.

I particularly liked the chapter on the Showtime TV show, The Tudors, and Natalie Dormer's portrayal of Anne. In all of the books and shows that I have seen, her performance of Anne is by far my favourite, despite the blaring inaccuracies in the show as an entirety. I was slightly surprised to see that Bordo seemed to agree with me as far as the second series is concerned, mainly because of the complexities that Dormer brought to the role.

Bordo didn't seem to be too critical, and though she did express her own opinion she also gave both sides of the argument about what Anne (or any other person was like). Even the opinions that disagreed with her own.

Basically Bordo didn't just look at the facts of what happened, which is basically inconclusive, but also the views of people now, and through the other ages where Anne was portrayed in fiction/film. The book is split into three parts, the history, the fictional Annes, and then the public opinion of her.

If you're interested in the Tudors, or in Anne Boleyn, then this is a definite must read!
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