Monday, December 30, 2013

Susan Bordo

Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, a book that is still widely read and assigned in classes today. During speaking tours for that book, she encountered many young men who asked, "What about us?" The result was The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. Her latest book is The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen. (UK edition now available.)

From Bordo's Q & A at the Queen Anne Boleyn Historical Writers website:

In your book you very convincing lay out a cultural timeline of how historians, fiction writers and people in general viewed Queen Anne Boleyn. How do you believe this dynamic took hold? Do you see any significant parallels in your research in both the cultural demonizing and in contrast the cultural iconizing of Queen Anne Boleyn with other female historical figures?

Anne’s enduring fascination has to do with several factors: First, the fact that she was the first English queen ever to be executed—an event which was shocking even to her enemies. We are chewing over Henry’s motivation to this day, and it still remains difficult to grasp. How could he do it? It’s a question I seriously consider in a chapter of the book.

Second, it’s so easy to construct a juicy archetypal triangle out of the Henry/Katherine/Anne story: There’s the discarded, menopausal first wife, the larger-than-life King blinded by passion, the younger, bewitching interloper. And he pursued her for seven years, willing to split his kingdom in bloody halves for her! What was so special about her? It’s ready-made for soap opera of all sorts.

Third, there is an obdurate mystery about Anne that can never be solved, because we actually know so little about her (few letters, little information about her childhood, her time in the European courts, nothing dependable known about her feelings for Henry,) but nonetheless we want so hard to figure her out. In that respect, her fascination for us is similar to that of Marilyn Monroe. We sense that despite the thousands of words, the portraits, the pop media attention, she has not yet been fully understood, fully known. There is much for the imagination to “fill in,” and historians, novelists and filmmakers have eagerly tried their hands.

And fourth...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at the official The Creation of Anne Boleyn website.

My Book, The Movie: The Creation of Anne Boleyn.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Susan Bordo & Sean and Dakota.

--Marshal Zeringue