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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Boycott Philippa Gregory's Books

Philippa Gregory has single-handedly practically ruined Anne Boleyn's reputation and is now accusing her of murder! Here is the article: Philippa Gregory's Article in the Age She writes that Anne Boleyn didn't 'shy away from murder in the past." Who did she murder? There is no evidence that she committed any murders! Most historians agree that she was innocent of the charges Henry VIII laid against her as well.

Philippa Gregory's book, The Other Boleyn Girl, has Anne going to bed with her brother in a desperate attempt to have a male heir to please Henry. The heroine is Anne's sister Mary who was certainly not the sweet and innocent girl that she is in the novel.

The author, Robyn Maxwell has defended Anne Boleyn in a recent article:

what excuse have author Philippa Gregory in The Other Boleyn Girl and screenwriter Michael Hirst in TV's The Tudors for perpetuating the scurrilous rumors and trumped-up charges that insured one of history's most remarkable women end her life on the wrong end of a sword?

Maybe the answer is that every good story needs a villain. And who better to target for that role than a beautiful, too-big-for-her-britches woman that ends up with her head on the chopping block? As far as I'm concerned, Anne Boleyn was the first feminist. The first woman with the strength and convictions to face-down the London Boys Club and have her own way. At least for a while.

Despite her untimely demise, this young lady's indomitable spirit and her not insubstantial accomplishments have been an inspiration in my art, as well as my life. So I say to her detractors, "Take your swiftboats, sail back into history and find someone else to pillory."


I prefer to read authors of historical novels who get their research right like Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton and Norah Lofts, rather than Philippa Gregory.

2 comments:

Dorit said...

I disagree with your view - I don't think Greggory said anything that was not said by contemporaries, the murder reference is to the poisoning attempt on Fisher and rumours that she may poison Katherine and Mary, which were indeed rampant. There is nothing new in what Greggory said. I don't agree with her interpretation, but it's an existing one. Don't read her books if you don't like them, but a call for boycott seems to me extreme.

Viola said...

Hello Dorit,

Thank you for your comment. I don't really think that Greggory's interpretation of the alleged incest is generally agreed with today. Most historians are certain that Anne was innocent of adultery - she would have had to be crazy to even consider it! I also disagreed with Greggory's making Mary into such a sweet, virginal character because she certainly wasn't.

However, I used to like Greggory myself because her writing isn't bad but I do think that she has done a lot to ruin Anne's reputation so I won't buy any more of her books myself.

Best,
Lisa