Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen

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9780306814747: Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen

No English queen has enjoyed such notoriety as Anne Boleyn, and none has been so persistently vilified. Even after her execution in May 1536, on trumped-up charges of adultery, her reputation has been pursued beyond the grave, subjected to all manner of accusation. The unsavory account of her life that has come down through history is one shaped by her enemies. Joanna Denny's powerful new biography presents a radically different picture of Anne-a woman who was highly literate, accomplished, and a devout defender of her Protestant faith. Her tragedy was that her looks and vivacious charm attracted the notice of a violent and paranoid king and trapped her in the vicious politics of the Tudor court, where a deadly game was being played between the old nobility and the new, between the old faith and the new. Denny's compelling account of Anne Boleyn plunges the reader into the heart of the intrigue, romance, and danger of the Tudor court and the turbulent times that changed England forever. It will change forever our perception of this much-maligned queen.

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About the Author:

Joanna Denny wrote several novels and this one work of nonfiction before she died in 2006. Her ancestor, Sir Anthony Denny, was Henry VIII's closest servant in his last days.

From Publishers Weekly:

Denny seeks to redeem Anne Boleyn from the slanders of Catholic propagandists hired to paint her as a monster. Anne and her diplomat father, Thomas, were advocates of the "New Religion"—the Protestantism spreading through England in the early 16th century. The Boleyn family's meteoric rise in status and influence threatened Cardinal Wolsey and his Catholic power base even before Henry VIII divorced the Catholic Catherine of Aragon in order to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne, thus initiating England's Protestant Reformation. While effectively setting this scene of high-stakes intrigue, Denny focuses on Anne; in her interpretation, Anne's integrity and moral courage lay at the center of the period's vortex of personal and political strife. Brilliantly evoking Henry's bullish intensity, Denny mines the 17 existing love letters that reveal the king's impatient infatuation with Anne. By contrast, she portrays Anne as reticent, acquiescing to the king out of commitment to the Protestant Reformation rather than personal desire. Denny lucidly catalogues the technicalities of Henry's seven-year legal struggle to make Anne his wife and how Anne fell from favor when she failed to produce a male heir. Finally, Denny (the author of a fictional trilogy on the Tudors) records Anne's stoicism as she was charged with incest and adultery, tried and, in 1536, executed. Although she sometimes idealizes her subject, Denny's defense of Anne is coherent and thoroughly readable. (Apr.)
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