Dr. Susan Bordo

The Creation of Anne Boleyn

November 18, 2013


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Susan Bordo (Ph.D. State University of New York, Stony Brook) is the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities and Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky.  She is author of several books, including The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture (SUNY Press, 1987) and Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body (U. of California Press, 1993).  Her most recent book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) is the subject of her public lecture.


The Creation of Anne Boleyn

7:00pm Benton Bingham Ballroom, Memorial Union

Who was Anne Boleyn? You may think you know the answer, but this presentation will encourage you to think again.

From the moment she entered Henry’s life until well after the French executioner’s sword ended her own, Anne Boleyn’s behavior, personality and character were chewed over by the tongues and pens of political enemies. Their later influence on historians has been nothing short of astounding–and greatly aided by the fact that Henry, eager to begin anew with his third wife, tried to erase Anne from history: destroyed her portraits, her letters, removed her emblems from the ceilings and entrances of royal residences.

Henry’s attempt to erase Anne from history was a failure. She is probably his most famous wife. Yet in many ways, the real Anne Boleyn is a missing person. In her place is a shape-shifting cultural “creation,” imagined and re-imagined by generations of polemicists, historians, novelists, and film-makers.

This illustrated talk will look at these ever-changing Annes, exploding enduring myths, challenging the standard histories, and exploring how pop culture has shaped our “own” Anne Boleyn.