January 3, 2012
I don’t believe, that being an expert with all the fancy bells, whistles, letters and titles after your name, makes any difference to the what type of historian you are to be honest.
I have no formal qualifications and spent most of my scholastic years hopping the wag, but if you have the drive and the determination to put pen to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard, you can do anything.
A factual writer does have a harder time of things in my opinion, as what ever they say about Anne or whomever they are writing about they have to state, where and how they came to the conclusion of what they have written.
A fictional writer, can bend the rules and use his/her imagination to create a story. The trouble with writers like SWMNBN and Hilariously Mental is they forget that what they have written is just a story then go as far to say that what they have a written is true. Which creates all sorts of problems.
Somewhere on the forum is a radio interview that SWMNBN did, in it she states that Anne was “Almost, probably, certainly guilty” Leaving me to yell “Well which is it woman?” Followed by her statement “But I like Anne I really do” By which point of course I am foaming at the mouth and chewing lumps out of dinosaur.. LOL
Hilariously Mental’s books “Wolf Hall” and Bring up the B******s” Ebooks were consigned to bin 13 after reading just a few pages of each. If they had been real books, the Chipmunks would have found a use for them, just as they did SWMNBN book “The Virgin’s Lover”.
It’s certainly true that we can never ever know what truly went on in any period of history and even with the benefit of a time machine, if we were able to travel back though time and see what went on, each person’s perception of what went on would be different, as no 2 opinions will be the same verbatim.
Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod
August 17, 2014
There is especially some matters in which Bordo gives useful new POV.
The first one is that not all in Henry’s letters can be taken literally. Henry followed the literary mode of love letters according to which a man must bemoan his sufferings in love. Bordo notices cleverly that Henry does it as hard both before Anne accepts him and after it.
That does not of course mean that we should doubt that Henry was (or fancied himself to be) in love with Anne – of that it is a proof enough that he wrote to her so many letters although he hated writing. But we must be careful not to take all the words “I am your servant” at face value nor believe that Henry spent all the time thinking about Anne. And all the time Henry was a king who ultimately kept command of their relationships.
Bordo is less successful in trying to explain that Henry did not mean that he would have chosen Katherine for his wife if he had to chose again because he was writing to Katherine’s father. It is true that when Henry said the same 20 years later, he lied as he had already promised to marry Anne. However, what Henry felt then, does not prove that he did not feel the same just after his marriage to Katherine.
On the basis of what we know, Henry as a young man acted like a husband who is quite content with his marriage and loves his wife. Even in the arranged marriages it was expected that the husband and wife grow to love each other which meant that they treated themselves lovingly and respectfully. Of course that did not mean that they were madly in love – but then they could not also fell out of love.
That a husband loved his wife did not necessarily mean that he was sexually faithful to her, especially as it was deemed not good to lie together during pregnancy and on other hand it was considered unhealthy for a man not to have a regular intercourse. That Henry had his first affair – or at least he tried to have one – during Katherine’s first pregnancy, should therefore not viewed according to modern morality. On the other hand, when Katherine miscarried but believed still to be pregnant with another fetus and took her chamber, Henry obviously visited her for she became pregnant which shows that he was at that time found her sexually attractive enough to lie with her without aim of procreation.
August 17, 2014
The second good point Bordo makes is that there was not hypocrisy in modern meaning in the 16th century because there was no separate “inner man” from the “outer man” he showed to the world.
Instead, a man’s actions showed what kind of man he was, indeed he was his actions. Also faith was shown in action. If a man attended a mass, went to pilgrimage, gave alms etc, he was deemed a pious man. Only Reformation changed that and then the “belief” became the most important thing.
It is perhaps therefore why it is to us so difficult to understand Henry. He seems never have doubted that he were not right and he sincerely believed that other people saw his as he saw himself.
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