Stephanie Russo, "The Afterlife of Anne Boleyn: Representations of Anne Boleyn in Fiction and on the Screen" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)


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In the centuries since her execution in 1536, Anne Boleyn’s presence in Western culture has grown to extraordinary proportions. In The Afterlife of Anne Boleyn: Representations of Anne Boleyn in Fiction and on the Screen (Palgrave Macmillan), Stephanie Russo describes the various ways in which her life has been interpreted and how these interpretations reflect the interests and developments of their respective eras. This process began with her contemporaries, who began memorializing her even before her death. That she was the subject of so much of their attention reflected in no small measure her prominent role in England’s adoption of Protestantism, which exerted a predominant influence in how she was interpreted for over a century and a half. As the controversies in England over religion ebbed in the 18th century the focus became more exclusively upon Anne as a person, as her activities and her relationships proved an enduring source of material for both novelists and playwrights. Russo shows how this interest as only grown over time, with Anne Boleyn’s life today serving as subject matter for everything from postfeminist novels to salacious cable television series – all of which help perpetuate our interest about this enigmatic and elusive figure.

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