I’ve been interested in Anne Boleyn for a long time–the first thing I remember reading was Robin Maxwell’s “The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn”, which was published in 1997. Two years later, I trotted off to backpack across Europe during summer break, and indulge my love of castles, British literature, and history.
I came across “The Creation of Anne Boleyn” when I was writing the dinner party post, and put it on hold at my library. Author Susan Bordo picks apart myths, legends, and wrong assumptions about Anne, and points out where many of these originated from. It’s not exactly a biography, more of a case study.
The first half of the book deals with Anne’s actual life, while the second half of the book analyzes Anne the character as she has been written and portrayed in movies, television and books. One of the most interesting parts of the books is how Bordo shows how authors wrote Anne through a lens of their life and times. Bordo quotes author Hilary Mantel, “…all historical fiction is really contemporary fiction; you write out of your own time”.
I realize not everyone is interested in reading about an English queen who lived and died almost 500 years ago. But for those who are, I think this is an excellent introduction into the life of Anne Boleyn, especially since it analyzes so many other books and resources–it almost is a guide of what else is worth (and not worth) further reading.