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 even look like?! 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 popular culture Bordo probes the complexities of one of history's most infamous relationships.
In her inimitable, straight-talking style Bordo dares to confront the established histories, stepping off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the myths.
Bordo (Unbearable Weight) writes that the goal of this engaging cultural biography was to "find the real' Anne Boleyn and rescue her from the pile of mythology that had built up around her" even before her beheading in 1536, a sad end that earned her the dubious distinction of being the first Queen of England to be executed. 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, which range from the virtuous heroine depicted in John Foxe's Book of Martyrs (1563) to the "selfish, spiteful, and vindictive" sister of Philippa Gregory's bestselling 2003 novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which Bordo skewers quite mercilessly and at length for its historical inaccuracies. In addition, the author offers interesting insights into the representation of a historical figure, as well as varying feminist interpretations of Boleyn's legacy. 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.