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.
Loved this, as I always enjoy Susan Bordo's work. She is one of the few academics whose writing engages me right from the start, and keeps me glued to the page - or headset, in this case.
I was taught during a Catholic upbringing that Anne Boleyn was a six-fingered whore and scheming monster, who single-handedly forced Henry VIII to abandon the Church. Even as a teenager I thought that was a bit much, but never took the trouble to find out for myself who this fascinating woman had really been. No-one has made it clearer that we actually have very little real information to go on!
I love Susan Bordo's clarity and the way she helps me learn how better to approach a topic - history, and historical fiction are two of my favourites; I doubt that I will look at either in exactly the same way again.
Barbara Rosenblat's narration was excellent.
WOW. This book has convinced me ( not that I need much convincing) a largish historical fiction writers do very little, if any research into their chosen topic. This will not stop me reading them but I will use more than a pinch of salt with them. Susan Bordo seems to be a woman after my own heart, with a wonderful narrator who reads the text putting the best inflection in her voice and incredulity where needed. Super book and narration.
"Best Boleyn Book!!!"
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!
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.
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!
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!
"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.
"The title says it all"
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
Only if I knew they were already interested in the Tudors.
This is a non-fiction title, so not applicable.
The narrator's performance was distracting because she injected every word with an over-abundance of emotion; emotions I don't necessarily think the author felt. I found it very hard to focus on what she was actually saying because I was so annoyed by her over-acting.
If it were a documentary, I would definitely watch it on TV!
I had previously listened to this narrator read another non-fiction book and enjoyed her performance. However, on this one her flamboyant reading of the text was so annoying that I couldn't wait for it to be done. Her talents might be more appropriate for a fictional story.
"Not so much a biography..."
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.
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.
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.
"History that nourishes the soul"
Painstakingly researched, this labor of love to the doomed queen swept me away through time. Bordo manages to reach through the pages (and through Rosenblat's authoritative voice that demands not one ear but two). The cultural obsession with Anne Boleyn is well documented, and Bordo gives us a real window into Anne's life and actions through a historical lense. Comparing and contrasting versions of Queen Anne throughout history and pop culture, Bordo really goes to great lengths to deconstruct the Boleyn mythos and show Anne as the real flesh and blood woman she was.
"If you like the show "The Tudors", you will love this book"
I had been hoping for a more or less historically accurate literary portrait of Anne Boleyn. Instead, I have what is essentially a play-by-play analysis of the show, "The Tudors". I have no desire to see that show, and certainly not after Ms Bordo's analysis of the historical flaws of it. This is essentially pop culture fluff interspersed with occasional facts drawn from history.
Additionally, Ms Rosenblat, the narrator, enunciates well and modulates her speech so as to heighten the drama where needed. To my ears, however, she sounds like a very heavy chain smoker, and her voice is similar to that of Harvey Fierstein. I keep expecting her to jump out of the narrative and into a big ole drag queen production. Her voice is quite distracting to me, and grates on my nerves if I listen too long.
If you don't mind listening to a chain smoker recite a play-by-play analysis of a mostly fictional show, you will love this book. For anyone looking for a reasonably correct historical analysis, just keep moving on.
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