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The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queenby Susan Bordo
Synopses & Reviews
A wickedly smart and rollicking journey through the birth, life, and afterlives of popular culture's most beloved sleuth
Today he is the inspiration for fiction adaptations, blockbuster movies, hit television shows, raucous Twitter banter, and thriving subcultures. More than a century after Sherlock Holmes first capered into our world, what is it about Arthur Conan Doyle’s peculiar creation that continues to fascinate us? Journalist and lifelong Sherlock fan Zach Dundas set out to find the answer.
The result is The Great Detective: a history of an idea, a biography of someone who never lived, a tour of the borderland between reality and fiction, and a joyful romp through the world Conan Doyle bequeathed us.
Through sparkling new readings of the original stories, Dundas unearths the inspirations behind Holmes and his indispensable companion, Dr. John Watson, and reveals how Conan Doyle's tales laid the groundwork for an infinitely remixable myth, kept alive over the decades by writers, actors, and readers. This investigation leads Dundas on travels into the heart of the Holmesian universe. The Great Detective transports us from New York City's Fifth Avenue and the boozy annual gathering of one of the world's oldest and most exclusive Sherlock Holmes fan societies; to a freezing Devon heath out of The Hound of the Baskervilles; to sunny Pasadena, where Dundas chats with the creators of the smash BBC series Sherlock and even finagles a cameo appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch himself. Along the way, Dundas discovers and celebrates the ingredients that have made Holmes go viral — then, now, and as long as the game’s afoot.
"Bordo (Unbearable Weight) writes that the goal of this engaging cultural biography was to 'find the Ã¢Â€Â˜real' Anne Boleyn and rescue her from the pile of mythology that had built up around her' even before her beheading in 1536, a sad end that earned her the dubious distinction of being the first Queen of England to be executed. The University of Kentucky humanities chair does a superb job of separating fact from fiction in contemporary accounts of Boleyn's life, before deftly deconstructing the myriad and contradictory portraits of her that have arisen in the centuries since her death, which range from the virtuous heroine depicted in John Foxe's Book of Martyrs (1563) to the 'selfish, spiteful, and vindictive' sister of Philippa Gregory's bestselling 2003 novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which Bordo skewers quite mercilessly and at length for its historical inaccuracies. In addition, the author offers interesting insights into the representation of a historical figure, as well as varying feminist interpretations of Boleyn's legacy. The young queen has been the source of fascination for nearly half a millennium, and her legacy continues; this engaging portrait culminates with an intriguing exploration of Boleyn's recent reemergence in pop culture. Agent: Sam Stoloff, Frances Goldin Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A groundbreaking retelling and reclaiming of Anne Boleyns life and legacy from a preeminent feminist thinker.
For longtime Conan Doyle fans as well as readers just discovering Sherlock Holmes, a wickedly smart and rollicking journey through the birth, life, and afterlives of popular cultures most beloved sleuth.
For longtime Conan Doyle fans as well as readers just discovering Sherlock Holmes, a wickedly smart and rollicking journey through the birth, life, and afterlives of popular culture’s most beloved sleuth
Today he is the inspiration for fiction adaptations, blockbuster movies, hit television shows, raucous Twitter feeds, and a thriving subculture. Over a century after Sherlock Holmes first capered into our world, what is it about Arthur Conan Doyle’s peculiar creation that continues to fascinate us? Journalist and lifelong Sherlock fan Zach Dundas set out to find the answer. Through sparkling new readings of the original stories, Dundas explores Conan Doyle’s fictional and real-world inspirations and reveals how the Holmes tales laid the groundwork for an infinitely remixable myth, kept alive over the decades by writers, actors, and readers. Dundas’s investigation leads him—like a Bill Bryson of Baker Street—on travels into the heart of the Holmesian universe. He infiltrates fan conventions, nearly freezes on a heath out of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and talks to the creators and star of the BBC’s Sherlock. Along the way, he discovers and celebrates the ingredients that have made Holmes go viral—then, now, and as long as the game’s afoot.
andldquo;Bordoandrsquo;s sharp reading of Boleyniana and her clear affection for this proud, unusual woman make this an entertaining, provocative read.andrdquo;andmdash;Boston Globe
Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a reconstruction of Boleynandrsquo;s life and an illuminating look at her very active afterlife in the popular imagination. With recent novels, movies, and television shows, Anne has been having a twenty-first-century moment, but Bordo shows how many generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers have imagined and reimagined her: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto-andldquo;mean girl,andrdquo; feminist icon, and everything in between. Drawing on scholarship and razor-sharp analysis, Bordo probes the complexities of one of historyandrsquo;s most intriguing women, teasing out what we actually know about Anne Boleyn and what we think we know about her.
andldquo;Riveting . . . Bordoandrsquo;s eloquent study not only recovers Anne Boleyn for our times but also demonstrates the ways in which legends grow out of the faintest wisps of historical fact.andrdquo; andmdash;Book Page
andldquo;Engrossing . . . Ms. Bordo offers a fascinating discussion.andrdquo;andmdash;New York Times
About the Author
Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor in the Humanities at University of Kentucky, is the author of Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, a book that is still widely read and assigned in classes today. During speaking tours for that book, she encountered many young men who asked, "What about us?" The result was The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. Her work has been translated into many languages and frequently reprinted in collections and writing textbooks. A popular public speaker, Susan lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and daughter, and teaches humanities and gender studies at the University of Kentucky.
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