The Queen with Six Fingers: Anne Boleyn in Fact, Fiction and Fantasy


On October 21, 2015, Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Professor of Humanities, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky, spoke for the WKU Libraries' "Far Away Places" speaker series at Barnes & Noble in Bowling Green, Kentucky about her most recent book The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen, published in 2013 to critical acclaim. The second of King Henry VIII’s six wives, Anne Boleyn’s short tenure as Queen of England was a significant factor in the English Reformation as Henry broke from the Catholic Church in order to obtain a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Though Henry hoped for a male heir to his throne, Anne Boleyn only gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth and suffered a series of miscarriages thereafter. After only three years of marriage, Boleyn was tried and executed in 1536 on fabricated charges ranging from adultery and incest, to witchcraft and treason.

Bordo’s The Creation of Anne Boleyn mixes historical scholarship with cultural studies to give illumination to the real life of Anne Boleyn, marred with political and religious complexities and surrounded by mythology. Bordo studies how polemicists, biographers, novelists, and even filmmakers in the last five centuries have imagined and re-imagined her: “whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto-“mean girl”, feminist icon, and everything in between.”


Cultural History | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, British Isles | Political History | Women's History