[Reading] ➸ Anne Boleyn ➮ Hayley Nolan – Justinfoline.us

Anne BoleynA Bold New Analysis Of One Of History S Most Misrepresented WomenHistory Has LiedAnne Boleyn Has Been Sold To Us As A Dark Figure, A Scheming Seductress Who Bewitched Henry VIII Into Divorcing His Queen And His Church In An Unprecedented Display Of Passion Quite The Tragic Love Story, Right WrongIn This Electrifying Expos , Hayley Nolan Explores For The First Time The Full, Uncensored Evidence Of Anne Boleyn S Life And Relationship With Henry VIII, Revealing The Shocking Suppression Of A Powerful WomanSo Leave All Notions Of Outdated And Romanticised Folklore At The Door And Forget What You Think You Know About One Of The Tudors Most Notorious Queens She May Have Been Silenced For Centuries, But This Urgent Book Ensures Anne Boleyn S Voice Is Being Heard Now TheTruthWillOut

[Reading] ➸ Anne Boleyn ➮ Hayley Nolan – Justinfoline.us
  • Paperback
  • 332 pages
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Hayley Nolan
  • 06 November 2019
  • 9781542041126

    10 thoughts on “[Reading] ➸ Anne Boleyn ➮ Hayley Nolan – Justinfoline.us


  1. says:

    I ll be honest I was dubious about this book before I even cracked it open Why Because the title is so sensationalist, clearly designed to be the Tudor history reader s equivalent of irresistible clickbait Although the book clearly sets itself against shallow attempts at portraying Anne s life, such as The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl, decrying their convenient cherry picking of facts and uncritical use of rumour and scandal without bothering to analyse the credibility of such gossip, it seemed to me that this book s flashy headline is effectively doing the same thing relying on shock to bring in the audience But that s just the title I can t dismiss a book on its title Especially since debut authors have little say over the covers of their books, often forced to give way to the publishing house s marketing department I should reserve judgment for the actual content Maybe it will be alright, I told myself.Well it was and it wasn t I find that I don t disagree with the author s driving motivation Over the centuries plenty of people have grabbed on to any old nonsense about Anne Boleyn and run with it, or just plain conjured it out of thin air, from Catholic apologist Nicholas Sander writing in the late 16th century and inventing a snaggletooth and witch s marks, to rather famous novelists in recent years who nevertheless assert in author s notes their absolute devotion to historical accuracy and accusing Anne of being a murderess and her father of pimping out his daughters These falsehoods have seeped into the general consciousness to the point where it is not unusual to come across casual comments to the effect that Anne Boleyn was a scheming harpy who deserved everything she got, or practised incest, or was a famous slut, and the commenter knows this because they watched an episode of a fictional drama on television once And it isn t just popular media Non fiction works written by authoritative historians have been surprisingly fictitious when it comes to imagining the gaps in Anne s life, seeking to create some sort of satisfying overarching narrative in order to make a good story Susan Bordo s book points out that the likes of David Starkey in his book Six Wives deliberately couches events in terms designed to rile up the reader and create a gripping dramatic narrative, by using allusions to Greek mythology and hunting It is definitely long since time that such fairytales were put to rest And Nolan s book is in line with recent academic analyses of Anne s life which note that she left court in hopes of escaping King Henry s attentions, and that theirs was not a love story but one of a woman pressed into a relationship by a powerful man she couldn t refuse, a man who ultimately decided to fabricate provably false charges against her and cry crocodile tears about how he d been bewitched and deceived while ordering her murder.So, all well and good then, a book worth reading Well not exactly Nolan claims to be writing an expos her words, not mine , the first ever to treat the sources and their biases critically, and provide an account of Anne s life as close to the truth as possible The thing is she isn t the first Much of what she writes which is supposedly a revelation is not new information at all to those who have seriously studied Anne s life, such as the fact that Anne most likely led a modest and pious life in France, or that she was educated by some of the finest minds of the Reformation and held deep and genuine convictions of faith This is all contained in Eric Ives seminal biography, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, not to mention other books which in the 21st century have cast light upon these little known facts with a view to specifically dispelling popular myths about her and the Boleyn family This is evident in Nolan s footnotes they often refer back to other recent biographies, rather than primary sources, including Lauren Mackay s Among the Wolves of Court, Elizabeth Norton s The Anne Boleyn Papers, Tracy Borman s Thomas Cromwell The Untold Story, Steven Gunn s Charles Brandon Henry VIII s Closest Friend, Patricia and Rouben Cholakian s Marguerite de Navarre, Diarmuid MacCullough s Thomas Cranmer a Life, Suzannah Lipscomb s 1536 The Year That Changed Henry VIII, and many , published within the last 20 years and often taking a critical, objective view of Anne s life Despite highlighting the importance of critically examining the primary sources biases at the start of the book, Nolan seems to spend very little time doing just that, instead relying on and rehashing the works of other recent writers and their reappraisals of the evidence This is why the book feels somewhat disingenuous to me Nolan s perspective is not new at all.The proposition that Henry VIII was a sociopath is interesting Still not a new suggestion it has been suspected by historians and readers for years However, it seems conceivable, given Henry s childhood traumas and chilling actions as an adult The problem is that just because it is possible does not mean it is the answer to the mystery of why Henry turned on Anne, why, indeed, he turned on so many friends and romantic partners At a distance of five hundred years, we cannot definitively diagnose Henry as a sociopath, and there are other reasonable explanations that have been put forward So while it may be an interesting suggestion, it seems likely that it will never be proved.The account that Nolan presents of Anne s life overall is plausible That is, it is not just in line with the current thinking of other historians interpretations, but it is a legitimate interpretation that fits with the evidence It could even be called convincing certainly, some of its conclusions fit better than other past interpretations of Anne s life But it is basic By that I mean that Nolan hits up the key points but does not go into a huge amount of detail and depth This is not a deep dive of the material The reading of Anne as an educated, religiously driven woman who initially wanted nothing to do with the king s advances but eventually succumbed to his harassment for the promise of an honest match and the hope of influencing religious reform is a credible conclusion but one that has been laid out far better by other authors such as the ones that Nolan frequently quotes from.I was surprised however to see how Nolan treats Jane Parker, Anne Boleyn s sister in law Like many biographies before, she takes the attitude that Jane Parker betrayed the Boleyn family, providing the evidence that got twisted at Anne and George s trials that the siblings discussed Henry VIII s virility And yet this is a rather outdated interpretation Julia Fox, Jane Parker s biographer, and Claire Ridgway, have been working to thoroughly dispel this myth in recent years But Nolan backs up this interpretation with several pieces of supporting evidence one, that Jane Parker was arrested after taking part in a rowdy demonstration in London in favour of the Princess Mary s cause, two, that George Wyatt, grandson of Anne s peer Thomas Wyatt the Elder, in his biography of Anne directly accuses Jane Parker of having provided the above mentioned evidence and thus betraying the Boleyns, three, that Jane s father Henry Parker, Lord Morley, sat on the jury at George s trial, and four, Nolan believes that only Jane Parker could have provided the letter from Anne to George informing him that she was pregnant this was twisted in the trial as proof of incest rather than a simple family announcement Nolan admits that Jane was initially a supporter of the Boleyns, attempting to help Anne get rid of one of Henry VIII s mistresses who was a well known supporter of the pro Imperial faction, but decides that Jane must have turned against her sister in law when their efforts to get the lady dismissed by picking a fight with her only resulted in Henry VIII banishing Jane from court instead Some of this pretty obviously flimsy George Wyatt wrote decades after Anne s downfall, late in Elizabeth s reign or possibly even into the reign of James I, and was not himself a witness to events, it s clearly not impossible that he picked up hearsay and mistakenly reported it as fact while other points, such as Jane s participation in a pro Mary demonstration, seem pretty damning.So what do Jane s biographers have to say about it Adrienne Dillard notes that there are only three writers who name Jane Parker as a traitor to her husband, but they were all written much later and all seem to have used George Wyatt as their source, meanwhile ambassador Lancelot de Carles who was a contemporary to events specifically says that the culprit was an unmarried woman and names the Countess of Worcester, and other contemporary sources do not mention the woman s name at all As for the pro Mary demonstration there is no firm proof that she did in fact attend The dispatch itself says that several of the ladies, being of higher rank than the rest, had been sent to Tower While an accompanying notation from the ambassador merely reads Note, my Lord Rochford This reference is far too vague to assume his meaning Besides, if Jane had been among the ladies sent to the Tower, it certainly would have been reported. Adrienne Dillard, Julia Fox adds to speak out against her husband s family would have been most uncharacteristic of her Doubtless she heard about the brouhaha, but she knew her destiny lay with the Boleyns To jump ship at this stage would have been folly She was much likely to have been at court than protesting for what seemed like a lost cause In any case, if Henry and Anne were lovers again, the future most definitely lay with Anne, and not with Mary. Jane Boleyn The Infamous Lady Rochford, Chapter 20 Fox also argues quite plausibly that Lord Morley could have been reluctantly pressed into jury duty, much as Henry Percy was, and that Jane would have been given little choice but to answer Cromwell s questions delivered through bullying and intimidation, with any slight incident twisted to create scandalous charges Besides which, it is extremely difficult to understand why, if Jane Parker were the culprit, she would then write letters of comfort to George Boleyn while he was being held in the Tower and stating that she would try to intercede for him, to which he even replied giving her his thanks Would George really thank her if she was the one woman on whose report he was being condemned Would Jane bother comforting a husband she wanted to get rid of and was soon to be executed Hmmm I think that Nolan has not been as determined as her pursuit of the truth when it comes to Jane Parker as she claims to have been when it comes to Anne Boleyn.I m left with the problem of how to rate the book The myths it seeks to destroy are a laudable enough goal, and the basic picture it presents of Anne s life is reasonable certainly, it presents a accurate picture than some of the aforementioned fictional portrayals of the past However, despite what Nolan tells us this is not a new perspective, and it relies heavily on pulling together and summarising the recent reinterpretations done by other authors It also succumbs to its own set of assumptions by relying on previous authors, most notably by condemning Jane Parker without rigorously examining the evidence that she bore false witness The writing style is chatty and acerbic, and entertaining at times how could it not be It will always feel satisfying to point out silly mistakes and laugh at absurd misinterpretations But that chatty style tells me something that the book s title is no coincidence This is a book designed to read easily, to come across as funny and gossipy I can t decide if this is actually genius, because this is a book, in short, that is intended to appeal to precisely the kind of reader who loves to click on clickbait, read novels and watch series about Anne Boleyn packed with every last juicy rumour Such a reader may be unlikely to pick up a dry academic tome with the intention of rigorously researching the truth about Anne, but they might just pick this up, and it may just be educative That said, anyone who is serious about researching Anne Boleyn should rather pick up the books in the bibliography, by Eric Ives, Lauren Mackay, et al., which are much detailed, well researched, and reliable.4 out of 10


  2. says:

    Nothing new Clickbait Anyone who has read any recent biography of Anne will have read these same arguments before Plus, the whole part of trying to diagnose someone as a sociopath using modern definitions from a distance of 500 years is pretty much irresponsible.


  3. says:

    What rubbish Very shallow understanding, minimal evidence of substantive research, based on outdated assumptions, questionable analysis of sources Plenty of better sources out there.


  4. says:

    This was one of the strangest books I have ever read, a weird mix of cringey pop culture references and angry attacks on other writers who actually agree with Nolan s views, but manage to convey them in a much mature and analytical way.


  5. says:

    Five hundred years of lies The only lie here is the lie that everyone before Nolan has told lies There is nothing new and no new evidence that has not been made available for years Here the only thing worth commenting on is the mind numbing arrogance of the author She thanks Eric Ives for inching his way towards helping her towards the truth She is the only person to provide uncensored truth about Anne Boleyn because everyone before her has deliberately, or through lazy research, has failed to do so This is not only untrue but is downright insulting to those who have gone before I agree that the likes of Weir, Gregory and Mantel are a disgrace to history but that does not negate all of the other historians such as Ives, Ridgway, Licence etc etc who have worked tirelessly over decades to do exactly what Nolan says she has done, while she insults them at the same time as creaming off their work.It is this book which is lazy because there is no original research here It is this book which tells lies by trying to suggest it goes where no one else has gone before It is the author who suggest history has lied whilst doing exactly the same as Weir before her Susan Bordo in her wonderfully book about Anne covered the way Anne has been treated in fiction, and she did it with far eloquence and intelligence than Nolan managed Yet Bordo isn t given any credit by Nolan.Personally, the way Nolan tries to portray Henry VIII as a sociopath and Anne as suffering from post traumatic stress is neither here nor there They are just theories no ridiculous than those provide by Weir Anne in love with Henry Norris, Anne not being able to bond with Elizabeth etc etc or Warnicke the deformed foetus, everyone around Anne being homosexual etc etc To me what makes this book so abhorrent is it s title.The title makes people want to buy it for completely the wrong reasons It is falsely inflammatory It is aimed at those who have never read a proper, historically nuanced, honest, compassionate and well researched biography of Anne s life In other words it takes advantage of people and it makes the author money while doing so.This isn t a reversionary history It is history revamped for the ignorant in an attempt to make as much money as possible.


  6. says:

    What I don t understand is why this author thinks she s writing something new and has discovered facts no one else has ever heard of I think it might have been palatable a book if it hadn t been so full of aggressive attacks on actual historians.


  7. says:

    If I do no research, misrepresent the work of actual historians, then pretend that I have discovered SEKRITS that have literally been known since the 16th century, can I get a six figure advance


  8. says:

    Quite honestly, I m not entirely sure who the author is attempting to correct I ve been researching the Boleyns and their extended families for over a decade and I can t think of any contemporary historian who still believes the outlandish caricatures of Anne In fact, Anne s reputation has continuously done nothing but improve thanks to the outstanding research that has come out from exceedingly thorough analysis of the original documents by Ives, Lipscomb, Starkey, Vasoli, Ridgway, MacKay, Grueninger, Morris, De Lisle, Fraser, et al Additionally, Nolan utterly ignores Julia Fox s work and plenty of other recent scholarship on Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochfordrepeating unsubstantiated claims, thereby committing the same slander she accuses others of doing to Anne While I wholeheartedly agree with Nolan that fiction writers have been wildly negligent in their portrayals of the Boleyn family, those only seem to get a passing mentioninstead it s the historians who have done excellent work rehabilitating Anne in non fiction that are the targets of her ire I just don t understand why Clearly, I m missing something Others have commented on Nolan s writing style, but I didn t mind that at all That breezy tone can engage people, make them excited about learning, which is never a bad thing The only trouble is that it can come off condescending, so there is a fine line to walk I have no doubt there will be plenty of Tudorphiles who love this book, but it just wasn t for me.


  9. says:

    I gave up on this book which was basically one huge rant full of sarcasm and quips that weren t particularly clever or relevant She didn t invent the wheel, and she certainly didn t discover the real Anne Boleyn.


  10. says:

    Much has been said of the author s arrogance, not to mention her controversial and much publicised marketing campaign in which, among other things, she burned one of bestselling historian Alison Weir s books on video for seemingly no reason Weir isn t particularly hostile to Anne Despite my unease about the way in which Hayley Nolan publicised her new book, I still decided to go ahead and read it, because I am obsessed with Anne Boleyn and will read anything about her I have read all of the major biographies of Anne Ives, Warnicke, Bernard, Weir, Baldwin Smith, Denny, Bordo, Licence etc and virtually every six wives biography There are dozens upon dozens of interpretations of Anne s life and she has been portrayed in virtually every guise in both fiction and non fiction sly schemer, depraved adulteress, evil witch, intelligent politician, radical feminist, tragic victim, devout reformer, twenty first century mean girl there is very little left to say about Anne, as Gareth Russell recognised in a wonderful blog post from 2012 If I m honest, I don t think I would buy a book that claimed that it was going to offer us a totally new picture of Anne Boleyn Because I know that it couldn t Every major version of her personality has already been suggested by historians Nolan, who is a blogger and not a historian, claims to have at last uncovered the uncensored truth about Anne Boleyn Well, her claims might be convincing to those who know nothing about Anne aside from having watched the unsympathetic 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl , but for anyone who has read even a handful of books about Anne, it will become obvious that Nolan s claim has nothing to recommend it Anne Boleyn s image has been convincingly rehabilitated since the 1980s, and every myth in this book that Nolan claims to demolish for the first time has already been done so by other historians as long ago as the 1980s No serious historian, for example, believes today that Anne poisoned Katherine of Aragon, or had sex with her brother, or had six fingers, or was a sexual predator that entrapped Henry VIII against his will I did have to wonder, when reading this, if Nolan seriously believed that Philippa Gregory s bestselling novel The Other Boleyn Girl was the unquestioningly accepted gospel truth about Anne that everyone has believed and needs to be disproved for the lies it is umm, as a novel, Gregory freely admits to writing fiction, and many readers are aware that The Other Boleyn Girl offers a highly sensationalised and distorted view of Anne Boleyn It is not read as a serious, academic perception of Anne s story.The best word to describe Nolan s book is misguided She is very wrong to describe her book as the first biography to mesh history with psychology Lacey Baldwin Smith did this as long ago as the 1960s And for someone who claims to have spent four years exhaustively researching Anne Boleyn s life, Nolan s research is very unsettling in its paucity Many reviewers have already pointed to how woefully short Nolan s list of primary sources is a full page, no , but what is perhaps most surprising in someone who claims to be an Anne Boleyn expert is how few of the major modern works she appears to have read G.W Bernard s controversial 2010 biography, for example, doesn t appear in the bibliography, nor does Joanna Denny s sympathetic, pro Protestant 2004 study of Anne s life Nolan, by the way, makes many of the same arguments as Denny, but Denny had academic credentials and was a talented writer Despite being published only two years ago, Amy Licence s Anne Boleyn also does not appear in Nolan s bibliography, which is a shame because Licence offers a multifaceted, in depth analysis of the relationship between Henry and Anne, exploring the various theories for their feelings towards each other and the point at which their relationship went wrong Susan Bordo s enthralling 2013 book The Creation of Anne Boleyn is ignored, while Karen Lindsey s feminist 1995 Divorced, Beheaded, Survived and Kyra Kramer s 2015 book The Jezebel Effect Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Queens Still Matters are also omitted from the bibliography clearly Nolan read neither book Her arguments about Henry VIII s relentless pursuit of Anne, however, are very similar to those argued by writers such as Kramer perhaps if Nolan had read these books, she would ve realised that her theories about Anne are nothing new.Many historians and novelists fall into the trap of making Anne Boleyn into the figure they want her to have been, and see in her what they like to see Whether it s the femme fatale beloved of twenty first century films and novels the groundbreaking feminist of modern pop culture the scheming seductress of outdated biographies these, thankfully, are mostly relegated to the 1970s and earlier the devout, pious queen who accepted her destiny as queen in order to promote the evangelical faith these polarising images of Anne are a testament to how little we actually know about Anne In this sense, Nolan is correct her life history has been censored, but you could say the same for Henry VIII s other English wives birth dates were not recorded, portraits are generally not regarded as especially accurate likenesses of their sitters, and we know little of what these figures actually said or did, never mind what they thought However, while castigating other writers for featuring Anne in unrealistic, partisan and biased ways, Nolan falls into her own trap she makes Anne into the figure she wants her to have been Instead of approaching her as a sixteenth century woman of her time, she makes her into a twenty first century feminist politician who fought for poor relief and religious tolerance virtually every early modern historian is well aware that freedom of religious thought was essentially unknown in sixteenth century England perhaps Nolan should read Alexandra Walsham s book Charitable Hatred Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500 1700.Many readers have commented on the author s jarring writing style personally I don t think Nolan is a bad writer, I think what is concerning is her lack of research and her ignorance of the extensive Anne Boleyn historiography Watching The Other Boleyn Girl and a couple of episodes of The Tudors which, actually, doesn t offer a negative view of Anne at all doesn t mean you are an expert on Anne Boleyn, nor does writing about Anne s positive achievements make you the first to uncover her censored history when academic historians have been doing this for the last thirty years or so For those who love Anne Boleyn, I would advise reading this book for light hearted entertainment, but for a realistic, nuanced and enriching view of one of England s most iconic queens consort, I would recommend sticking to the likes of Ives, Warnicke or Bordo Even reading Joanna Denny s 2004 biography or Kyra Kramer s The Jezebel Effect will quickly make apparent how indebted Hayley Nolan is to writers she does not even feature in her bibliography, and how very similar some of her arguments are to those put forward by historians many years ago.

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