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 tendencI 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 descend 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....more
Definitely lesser Tudor fiction, nothing to compare with the sublime Phillipa Gregory or Carolly Erickson. It doesn't help that this episode deals witDefinitely lesser Tudor fiction, nothing to compare with the sublime Phillipa Gregory or Carolly Erickson. It doesn't help that this episode deals with some of the stupidest and least appealing characters in the Tudor saga: hot-to-trot teen queen Katherine Howard and her far too merrie men. Kate's girlhood companion and frenemy, Catherine Tylney recounts the familiar tale of their debauched upbringing in the Howard household, of Kate's scheming ways, her unexpected elevation to queen, and the adulterous scandal that eventually trapped not only Kate and Catherine, but Catherine's beloved Francis. The naivete and innocence of the protagonists might be believable for those unfamiliar with the real story, but for Tudor-philes it will be hard to swallow. The real life Catherine and Francis were both accomplished schemers as well, who played loose and fast with the truth when it suited them. Neither had the slightest scruple about betraying Kate once their own lives were threatened....more
She lacked the fiery intransigence of Anne Boleyn, or the steadfast piety of Catherine of Aragon. She produced no Tudor heirs,provoked no revolutions,She lacked the fiery intransigence of Anne Boleyn, or the steadfast piety of Catherine of Aragon. She produced no Tudor heirs,provoked no revolutions, took no lovers and is generally remembered as "the survivor" who nursed the aged and obese Henry VIII in his final years. Yet this simplistic view greatly undervalues a woman of spirit, intelligence and character who was eagerly sought in marriage by 4 men,(Henry actually had some competition) wrote and translated influential works of theology, ruled in Henry's place during wartime, and is generally regarded as the best suited for queenship of all Henry's consorts. A true survivor, she helped her second husband live down his association with a failed rebellion, and cleverly thwarted her own execution for heresy with a mixture of daring and wifely diplomacy. A remarakable woman who deserves to be better known...more
A revisionist look at one of the least understood, often overlooked episodes in the tumultuous Tudor dynasty: the succession crisis of 1553 pitting MaA revisionist look at one of the least understood, often overlooked episodes in the tumultuous Tudor dynasty: the succession crisis of 1553 pitting Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's eldest daughter, against her 16 year old cousin Jane Grey. At Henry's death, he had reinstated his daughters Mary and Elizabeth into the succession,yet did not revoke their illegitimate status. The hope was that their younger half brother Edward, the only one of Henry's offspring whose legitimacy was never challenged, would produce enough heirs to solve the problem. Alas, when Edward contracted a fatal illness at age 16, crisis was inevitable. Edward's deathbed reworking of the succession to omit his bastard half-sisters in favor of his cousin Jane has long been viewed as a vile coup instigated by Jane's powerful father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland. Yet while Ives acknowledges Northumberland's role, he points out that law and custom were on his side. Inheritance rights were a serious matter, and to authorize the transfer of the crown to an acknowledged bastard would have set a dangerous precedent. Ives carefully outlines the reasoning behind Edward and Northumberland's actions, concluding that it was Mary, not Jane who was the true rebel, and that Jane's execution was nothing but a cynical judicial murder.
Although Ives spends a little too much time describing minute details of each piece of relevant correspondence, his analysis of Jane, Edward, Mary and Northumberland's characters and motivations is fascinating and convincing. Tudor-philes have long been convinced of the injustice of Jane's fate; Ives makes a good case for the injustice of Northumberland's as well.
An excellent companion to Leanda de Lisle's _The Sisters who would be Queen - the Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey_. De Lisle 's Jane is no innocent pawn, but a determined reformer keenly conscious of her role as a humanist icon to European Protestants....more
Denny has familial connections to the Boleyns and her bias is clear and unapologetic. Boleyn was obviously a complicated, brilliant and polarizing figDenny has familial connections to the Boleyns and her bias is clear and unapologetic. Boleyn was obviously a complicated, brilliant and polarizing figure, but Denny's hagiography ludicrously ignores or minimizes anything remotely unflattering in contemporary accounts....more