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The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen | [Susan Bordo]

The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen

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 look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: Neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life.
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Publisher's Summary

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 look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: Neither.) 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 critical analysis, Bordo probes the complexities of one of history’s most infamous relationships.

Bordo also shows 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. In this lively audiobook, Bordo steps off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the competing mythologies.

©2013 Susan Bordo (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    Roswatheist Dexter, New Mexico, United States 03-29-14
    Roswatheist Dexter, New Mexico, United States 03-29-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Most Enjoyable Biography--Win!"

    Long before I saw The Tudors I loved Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn. I would childishly stomp my feet at the back covers of Philippa Gregory's novels because I was looking for good, realistic, Tudor fiction.

    Susan Bordo did a marvelous job portraying Anne as accurately as she could, acknowledging the lack of impartial historical documents (of course no such thing exists, much less for such a decisive lady). She was fair to other accounts of Anne, fiction and non, screen and print, to a fault. Ms. Rosenblat was a fantastic narrator, giving the biography the right twist of sarcasm and wit at their obvious parts.

    Overall, this was quite an enjoyable listen.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-14-14
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-14-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

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    "Our Anne, Ourselves"

    Not a biography of Anne Boleyn, this is a analysis of what each generation and writer, creates out of the historical character Anne Boleyn. She’s a woman re-made in every era’s imagination to serve the teller, from Chapuys’s contemporary slandering of “the whore,” to today’s feminist icon, or slutty vixen—take your pick.

    When Anne’s head came off, her words and images, and even friendships were erased, so every image we get of Anne says more about the person writing about her than it does about the subject.

    Susan Bordo gives you all the angles, all the trashy viper-pit details of royal life, and still separates the facts from speculation. Her chatty, dry, deadly wit make this audiobook addictive.

    Barbera Rosenblat brought so much sensibility and sharp-tongued knowing humor to the reading. She’s a perfect match.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Danvers, MA, United States 07-22-14
    Michelle Danvers, MA, United States 07-22-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Very engrossing"
    Where does The Creation of Anne Boleyn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a very well written and researched novel. It presents a more balanced perspective of Anne Boleyn as well as how her legacy has been shaped by the culture not only of her time but of those that came after.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara M. Sullivan Huntsville, Alabama 06-20-14
    Barbara M. Sullivan Huntsville, Alabama 06-20-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Anne Boleyn as seen through the years"

    Susan Bardo compares the view of Anne Boleyn by courtiers who lived when she lived to older biographies including those in the eighteen hundreds, and more modern views of her, including historical fiction by Margaret George, P. Gregory, and Alison Weir. Bardo even includes the mini-series the Tudors. I don't think as it could be concluded that she was being particularly critical of these authors. They are fiction, regardless of the academic credentials of the author.

    She is harder on writers of popular history, (like this one) who repeat rumors that cannot be substantiated by anything concrete. Even the famous letters King Henry sent her, were not found in England but in the vatican.

    The book is interesting. Barbara Rosenblat is great as always.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Syracuse, NY 05-22-14
    Sara Syracuse, NY 05-22-14 Member Since 2014

    Recent college grad who studied creative writing... now I bum 'round listening to other's works. Not a bad life :)

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    "Best Boleyn Book!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Creation of Anne Boleyn to be better than the print version?

    YES! Barbara Rosenblat added so much to the text. She read it with the wit and sarcasm the book is intended to be read with. I admit (and I don't do so lightly), I could have never have matched Rosenblat's mastery and enthusiasm in my own mind. Rosenblat's style is fun and simply delicious!


    What other book might you compare The Creation of Anne Boleyn to and why?

    Hmmm, I can't think of any. This book had so much going on. It's written in that contemporary way that women (especially feminist) are writing today (like in "American's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines" by Gail Collins to give an idea and that too is another great read). You know, it's sorta like talking with your girlfriends. That is one of the most charming things about this book. When you read this, it's as if Bordo is poring you a glass of wine saying "now, about that sixth finger..." She goes into the TV series, films and books on Henry and Anne and shakes out a lot of the BS. She does this in a scholarly academic way that allows the reader to trust her with her piles of research, references and historical documentation.


    Have you listened to any of Barbara Rosenblat’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't. I did look her up on Audible but nothing else she has done looks compelling to me. I will just keep re-reading this one, ha!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    You know, I really did. Bordo asks one question I never thought of before and that is simply why. Why in the hell did he do it. I mean he was a known cheat, (having already had at least one son out of wedlock by this point) so why would he kill her. Granted her allegations (all false of course) that she had slept with George and countless others is gripping but still, why didn't he just send her to a nunnery or lock her in the tower. The horror of it really gets you like being bitten--he chopped off her head. One day he was making love to her, and another legally ordering her beheading. It hits you as you pour over this text. She writes on why Henry might have done it in great detail...so I won't spoil it here on what she suggests!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 04-22-14
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2013

    author of Lowcountry Legend's series

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    "New perspective on an old myth"

    I enjoyed this book and this narration of it immensely. The narrator I am familiar with and she does strong American women well. However, it is the book that really shines for me. First, there is the typical history of Anne, WITHOUT the, AS IT WERE's of historians and WITH opinions. Then there is pop culture history related to Anne, which is also a study on how history changes with the generations and perceptions. This is a must for any graduate student in history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Red Emma Seattle, WA USA 04-15-14
    Red Emma Seattle, WA USA 04-15-14 Member Since 2009
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    "The title says it all"
    Any additional comments?

    I stumbled on this as I had just listened to another book narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (and loved her voice) and I am also interested in Anne Boleyn as a historical figure. I was surprised to realize that this really is about the "creation" of Anne Boleyn, specifically as she is portrayed in literature, plays and movies. I have never watched the Showtime series "The Tudors" which was referenced a lot and so I didn't have a good vantage point at times to truly understand what the author was speaking about. It was illuminating to hear the evolution of Anne which has been taking place since the early 1800's and to see that there is still a roaring debate even up to this day about who Anne was "really". Anyone who has watched movies or read historical fiction about Anne will no doubt enjoy this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hatchue 06-10-14
    Hatchue 06-10-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Not so much a biography..."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    More historical information and even speculation about Anne herself, less talking about the shortcomings of other people's books. This came off as more of a lengthy college essay than a book.


    What was most disappointing about Susan Bordo’s story?

    I was expecting more of a biography about the life of Anne Boleyn, but only about a quarter of the text was actually about Anne. Most of it ended up being a critique of other author's works on the same topics (both factual history and novels) and how they portrayed Anne. She also reviewed websites and mentioned Facebook pages. She went on to talk about Anne's influence on feminism. Quite a bit of the book was about feminist views and how people might have viewed Anne in modern times, speculated on how she might have been a leader in the feminist movement, etc.


    Have you listened to any of Barbara Rosenblat’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first time I've listened to anything narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, but she did a stellar job. She had a lot of enthusiasm and her narration style is actually what kept me listening.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Absolutely not.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DanGer104 02-10-15
    DanGer104 02-10-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A fascinating and Informed cultural history"

    The book was not what I expected, nevertheless I consider it a must read for enthusiasts of historical fiction and biographies. The authors' tone is sometimes irreverent as she discusses the variously depicted literary/movie versions of Anne Boleyn's' intentions and character. She exposes a bias in the historical record which leads to Anne's vilification and she promotes a more balanced vision of Anne as a complex human being who created her own reality with unusual courage and resolve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PG NYC 11-13-14
    PG NYC 11-13-14 Member Since 2015

    Cabin Fever

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    "Absolutely Wonderful"
    Would you listen to The Creation of Anne Boleyn again? Why?

    Yes. The narration is fabulous, and the writing is wonderful


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Anne & Susan - Learning how the author was feeling toward the character was as much fun as the factual history.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Anne in the Tower


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Discussion of 21st Century young women who have found a hero in Anne.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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