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



By: Joanna Denny(Author)

Language: English

Genre: Biography

Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc; New edition edition (14 Feb. 2006)

Format: pdf doc docx mobi djvu epub ibooks (*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.)

The original title of the book: 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.

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.

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  • By Apocalyptic Queen on 27 November 2008

    Despite receiving altogether not so flattering views, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.However like many biographies I have read regarding the Tudors, I agree with certain statements that Denny makes and disagree with others.I find that Denny, whilst appearing somewhat biased at times does nevertheless shed some light on certain events which have been eluded by other historians.In particular, Denny suggests that the intense dislike for Anne Boleyn by her future sister-in-law, Mary Tudor, was the result of Anne's disapproval of her behaviour in the court of Francis I.And also, the scandal that later errupted when Mary allegedly tried to enlist Francis' help to secure her marriage to Charles Brandon.Starkey makes little mention of these events and Joanna Denny presents a convincing argument to state her case that Anne was the polar opposite of her sister, Mary Boleyn, and did not approve of her sister's "licentiousness".Whilst Denny omits the fact that Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon were friends, this has also been somewhat omitted by some other notable historians such as Ives and Starkey who both cite the events at Francis I's court to explain Mary's intense dislike for Anne.Whilst I do not agree with Denny's position with regards to Catherine's refusal to submit to the divorce, I do agree with her proposition that Catherine's marriage to Arthur may have been consummated. This is also the suggestion made by David Starkey and there is contemporary evidence arising from the testimonies of those close to Arthur and Catherine's own conduct with regards to the divorce, to suggest that this was the case.Starkey makes the argument that Catherine was known to have made the odd "little white lie" even several years later and exemplifies the case of a miscarriage in which she did not tell her father, Ferdinand of Aragon several months after the event had taken place.Furthermore, whilst I agree on the whole that Denny's portrayal of Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary is very harsh, I think there may be a grain of truth in her portrayal of the man at the centre of all these events: Henry VIII himself.From the outset, it is obvious that Denny is no admirer of this man and makes the suggestion that he may have inherited his licentious behaviour, paranoia, incessant love of women and an almost border-line like insanity from his grandfather, Edward IV and pursued Anne ruthlessly.Whilst I do not share the view that Anne had no part in this, I do agree to a certain extent with Denny's description of Henry VIII.Catherine of Aragon enthusiasts rarely acknowledge that it was Henry VIII and not Anne, who instigated the whole affair, despite the overwhelming consensus of academic and historical opinion.On the whole, I felt this was a thoroughly riveting (if one-sided) view. However, Denny makes a very convincing argument with regards to Anne's zeal for evangelicalism, her integrity and political and intellectual ability.Overall, I found this a thoroughly entertaining read. I enjoyed reading Denny's rather unflattering comments about Henry VIII and rather like Starkey, she has the talent of recognising the opportunity to introduce the odd pun or two!Whilst I would not recommend this book for anyone wanting to make an objective and impartial analysis of Anne, I believe that Denny has received a rather harsh response to this work from readers and academics alike. Many of her arguments have already been espoused by other historians therefore I believe it is unfair to single Denny out for such criticism.

  • By Guest on 12 February 2006

    I have been interested in the life of Anne Boleyn for many years now, and i was excited to read a book that portrayed Anne in a positive light. The book covered Anne's life from her birth to the aftermath after her death in great detail. I found the book read almost like a novel, in the sense that i could not put it down, there were moments i laughed out loud and moments i cried.. I think any tudor fanatic should read this book. In response to opinions of Catherine of Aragon being shown in a negative light, i agree, but i feel it was justified. As the book explains (and Starkey touches on this too) at the time it was custom for a marriage consumation to be watched - so many reported Catherine and Arthur had consumated the marriage. Also, with Catherine's lies about her fake pregnancy, it's difficult to believe her when she claims against witness statements that she was a virgin when she married Henry VIII. Overall, i found the book well written and riveting, taking a whole new perspective of Anne Boleyn. I highly recommend it :)

  • By Fairy Princess on 18 April 2006

    I enjoyed this book, it was well written and interesting, it is just a shame that Denny made it totally unconvincing and so one sided. Anne Boleyn was painted as some kind of Angel whilst everyone around her were evil villains. I think it is generally agreed that Anne wasn't guilty of what she was accused of and she had many admirable qualities-but neither can she have been that perfect. Joanna Denny lets herself down as an historian by giving such a biased view. There seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest that Anne was more than capable of being bad tempered, vindictive and malicious but she seemed to be ultimately a good person. It is not fair to villify everybody who didn't like her; for example Denny claims that Mary (Henrys sister) didn't like Anne because she disapproved of Mary's flirtatiousness whilst they were in france together. This may be true, but she leaves out the fact that Mary and Catherine of Aragon were close friends-so it follows she would side with her. Her attitude towards Catherine of Aragon is particularly unfair, she describes her as 'arragont and stubborn' for not submitting to divorce-I think Catherine's reaction was perfectly natural, the man who she had been married to for over 20 years and loved deeply was trying to shrug off their marriage for somebody else. Catherine was also fighting to prevent her daughter being made illegitamite thus losing her place as heir to the throne, and her religion forbade divorce. Denny accuses her of lying to the king about her miscarriage. Starkey offers the more plausabile view that Catherine didn't know enough about sex and pregnancy to realise she was no longer pregnant-she just went with what the Doctors told her at the time. Denny twists alot of events to put very unjust slants on peoples actions and characters and writes off as lies and mistruths anything that puts Anne in a bad light whilst also omitting alot of events that don't do Anne credit. The book gives alot of detailed insight into anne Boleyn but doesn't allow for the fact that at the end of the day she was only human.

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