I realized within the first 8-10 pages or so this author was extremely biased toward the other writers who wrote about Anne Boleyn because she does nothing but bash, criticize, and them put down. I knew the direction it was heading when she further shows an extreme dislike for Henry's first wife Catherine and her devotion to her faith. It continues mercilessly until I gave up reading around page 87.
I wanted to enjoy it and do not mind difference of opinion but Bordo cannot go through one page without a put down.
Interesting biogrphy of one of England's most maligned and mysterious Queens. The author admits to not being a professional historian, so after a couple of chapters of Anne's history that we know of, she examines the "Anne Boleyn" of popular imagination and various media interpretations of her. A good read for fan's of Tudor history.
At last someone sets the record straight after the misinformation conveyed by the juicy but completely irresponsible film "the Other Boleyn Girl" based on the novel by Philipa Gregory. When i saw this riveting film i thought "a queen so desperate to provide the tyrannical Henry VIII with an heir that she commits incest with her brother? It can't be!" And sure enough, it never happened. Bordo's scholarship and research tells the real story, but unfortunately, many folks only exposure to the story will be the one they see in the wildly inaccurate film. Too bad this book will not reach as many people as the film.
I wanted to like this more than I did. Bordo is splendid in her critique of the "received" history of Anne Boleyn, pointing out the pernicious tendency of even objective historians to color the tale with their own prejudices. It was fascinating to trace the historical evolution of Anne's image, from scheming sex crazed heretic, to soulful Reformation martyr, to Victorian victim, to power feminist. Bordo's interviews with two of the most influential Anne interpreters: Genevieve Bujold and Natalie Dormer, illuminate the interplay of sexism, commerce, and wish fulfillment in each generation's re-imagining of Anne's character. So far, so good. However, when Bordo attempts to psychoanalyze the 400 years dead Henry, (Did a childhood dominated by strong female figures, but with unrealistic expectations of autocratic masculinity result in borderline personality disorder? Discuss..) she wanders into shakier territory. When she attempts to conflate her own, very 20th century sexual misfires and 60s radical follies with the enormity of Tudor sexual politics, we sink into glurge of Oprah-esque proportions. Ultimately, Bordo is guilty of the same misprision as the writers she critiques, namely reinterpreting a complex, multidimensional tragedy in light of her own limited experience.
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