Friday, 30 April 2010

Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions (2010)

Claire at The Anne Boleyn Files offers a great review of the controversial new biography Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions, written by Professor G.W. Bernard of the University of Southampton, whose previous works includes the highly pro-Henry VIII book, The King's Reformation.

I am hoping to do a short review of this book myself at some point, but I doubt I will be able to do better than that posted today by Claire on her fantastic website, which recently very kindly featured my article on Anne Boleyn's birth.

There has been some excitement in the British newspapers about there finally being a biography which "proves" Anne Boleyn was guilty of the crimes for which she was put to death in 1536. However, it turns out that the subject-matter of Professor Bernard's book is a good deal less certain than they - or he - would like and he certainly does not argue that she committed incest with her brother, Viscount Rochford.

Claire's conclusion of Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions is a very fair one, all things considered: -

"Bernard finishes his book by saying that the Anne Boleyn he has presented is not the Anne who held Henry off for years, who inspired the break with Rome, who had a leading role in the English Reformation and who was the innocent victim of conspiracy. Instead, he explains how he has tried to “recover the historical Anne Boleyn” by reviewing all of the evidence. Although I do not agree with many of his theories, I have to applaud Bernard for his endeavours and for putting together such a good book. I’m glad to say that I can enjoy a book and respect Bernard’s views without agreeing with him. My Anne is still an innocent Anne and a victim of an awful miscarriage of justice."

You can read the full review here.

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