Virtue Betray'd: women writing Anne Boleyn in the Long Eighteenth Century

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The immediate posthumous reputation of Anne Boleyn was largely inscribed by men whose religious and political interests shaped their representations of her personality, relationship with Henry VIII, and the causes of her downfall. From the Catholic propaganda of Nicholas Sander to the Protestant hagiography of John Foxe, a vision of Boleyn as either monstrous or saintly emerged. However, as women started to write about the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, a more complex figure emerged, prefiguring contemporary representations of Anne Boleyn as a proto-feminist figure trapped and preyed upon in a rigidly patriarchal world. This chapter compares a number of accounts of Anne Boleyn’s life by women in the long eighteenth century: Madame d’Aulnoy, Sarah Fielding, and Mary Hays.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemembering Queens and Kings of Early Modern England and France
Subtitle of host publicationreputation, reinterpretation, and reincarnation
EditorsEstelle Paranque
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030223441
ISBN (Print)9783030223434
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameQueenship and Power
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • Anne Boleyn
  • historical fiction
  • eighteenth-century literature
  • women's history
  • Feminist history
  • early modern studies


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