The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII / Edition 1

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The events which led to the execution of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second queen, in 1536 have traditionally been explained by historians in terms of a factional conspiracy masterminded by Henry's minister Thomas Cromwell. Retha Warnicke's fascinating and controversial reinterpretation focuses instead on the sexual intrigues and family politics pervading the court, offering a new explanation of Anne's fall. The picture which emerges - placing Anne's life in the context of social and religious values, and superstitions about witches and the birth of deformed children - changes our perception of her role within the court, and suggests that her execution (occurring only four months after a miscarriage) was the tragic consequence of Henry's profound concern about the continuation of the Tudor dynasty.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this book is more than original--it challenges close to every other work written about Anne since her execution...This book is a wonderful piece of feminist offers great insights into Anne Boleyn and into the way history has treated all women who dared to wield power and influence." Herizons

"Thanks to the events surrounding her courtship with and ultimate marriage to Henry VIII, the tempestuous nature of that union, and the sordid yet mysterious circumstances of her execution, Anne Boleyn has always been a fascinating figure. Both popular and scholarly biographers of her have come along with some regularity. Quite simply though, this one transcends all previous efforts." Library Journal

"Inspired, thought-provoking history, sure to pique fans and scholars of the executed queen." The Kirkus Reviews

"...reinterprets Anne Boleyn's story from a feminist perspective and provides the most plausible explanation to date for her abrupt fall from royal glory to the block...illuminates its subject as well as the difficulties inherent in writing about sexual ideologies--and acts--shrouded by centuries of rumor." Margaret W. Ferguson, New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
Thanks to the events surrounding her courtship with and ultimate marriage to Henry VIII, the tempestuous nature of that union, and the sordid yet mysterious circumstances of her excution, Anne Boleyn has always been a fascinating figure. Both popular and scholarly biographies of her have come along with some regularity. Quite simply though, this one transcends all previous efforts. Thanks to painstaking research and shrewd analytical skills, Warnicke (history, Arizona State Univ.) gives us substantial new insight on both the woman and her times. Her central thesis, that the execution derived in large measure from Henry's concern with perpetuating his dynasty, is a convincing one, and she shows clearly that previous biographers have been all too ready to accept distorted evidence at face value. Essential for academic libraries and recommended for public ones as well.-- James A. Casada, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521406772
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1991
  • Series: Canto Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 1,296,929
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; Introduction: Queen Anne; 1. Boleyn origins; 2. Family alliances; 3. Henry's challenge; 4. Papal response; 5. Anne's turn; 6. Queen's patronage 7. Harem politics; 8. Sexual heresy; 9. Royal legacy; Appendix A. The legacy of Nicholas Sander; Appendix B. The choirbook of Anne Boleyn; Appendix C. Two poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt; Notes; Index.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    Controversial and Intriguing Theories

    Ms. Warnicke has developed a new theory regarding the fall of Anne Boleyn, second wife to King Henry VIII of England. Relying on primary sources, this book spins a story of Anne's execution based on medeival views of witchcraft, homosexuality and childbirth. It is both well written and well-researched.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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