The Secret of Our Obsession With Anne Boleyn
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“How did she look, the women will ask. He [Cromwell] will be able to say she looked pale, but unafraid. How can it be to enter that great chamber and to stand before the peers of England, all men and none of them desiring her? She is tainted now. She is dead meat, and instead of coveting her – bosom, hair, and eyes – their gazes slide away. Only Uncle Norfolk glares at her fiercely, as if her head were not Medusa’s head."
We all know what happened to Medusa; Perseus decapitated her.
And so the courtly lover turns despot, and finally, executioner.
The Medusa image is instructive. Even after her death, the power and fascination of her stare remains. Likewise with the enigmatic Anne Boleyn. She lives on in us and through us, ever tempting writers to sift through the whirlwind of myths, legends and snippets to capture the essence that was lost in the thunderous noise of her conflicted, precarious world. A world distant, and yet strangely, painfully reminiscent of our own.
Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of 'Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture.' Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.