Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Question from James - Denny biography of Anne Boleyn

What is the general view on this site of Joanna Denny's biography of Anne Boleyn? the critics slated it but i thought it was well written and researched.

[Previous related thread linked below. - Lara]


  1. Denny's book is in fact well-written and researched, but highly partisan. Her viewpoint is very pro-Anne. I am a huge fan of Anne Boleyn myself, but even I have to admit she had her faults--she could be scheming, temperamental, and vindictive. She knew what she wante and she went after it, and beware anyone who tried to thwart her. Of course, this makes her so compelling, for in this respect, her ambition and willingness to take action, made her a woman ahead of her time. Denny kind of glosses over these aspects of her personality, and almost vilifies Catherine of Aragon. Anne was a remarkable woman, no doubt, but you have to balance the good with the bad. Denny's book is good for another viewpoint about Anne, but the best, most thoroughly-researched and written, and balanced biography of Anne is undoubtedly by Eric Ives.

  2. I agree with Elizabeth. It is well-researched, but highly biased, and the author's prejudices against Katharine of Aragon and Princess Mary really had me shaking my head at times.

  3. I have to say I didn't think it was particularly well researched either. Most of it was second hand at best, and much of it inaccurate. I ended up throwing it across the room. I wouldn't bother wuth it if I were you.

  4. Denny offers nothing new. Most of the pictures she used are terrible, second rate, copyright free images (obviously her publisher was too cheap to pay for proper imaging rights).

    Elizabeth Norton's recent bio on Anne Boleyn is just as bad. Very repetitive sentences and words. And again, poor images - scanned from old books to save money on repro rights.

  5. I own and have read Anne Boleyn by Joanna Denny.I think that the book was well written and I liked reading the facts plus seeing the pictures.I think that Eric Ives's book though is more detailed and gives a more of a thoughrough discription of what went on and happened in Anne Boleyns life right to the last moment of her life.Denny is pro Anne just like myself.She has written two books on both of my favourite historical characters from history who happened to be married to King Henry VIII.
    This is a question for James Do you own or have you read Joanna Denny's book on Catherine Howard? Do you own Eric Ives's Anne Boleyn or have you read that? If not I recommend that you do.

  6. We have to remember that all critics are writing to support their own arguments and theories so if they slated Joanna Denny it is because doing so is to their own advantage. Her book on Anne Boleyn is well researched and well written. Her point of view is political but well balanced. She is not against Katherine of Aragon merely explaining why she was lying to save her power base, no different from any national figure trying to prevent the loss of influence, income and status. All she writes about Henry vii and vii is verifiable. She was writing about a religious conflict taking place across Europe and what people did to advantage and support their own religion. What has changed today! Nothing!


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