11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A cultural view of Anne Boleyn,
This review is from: The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen (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.