Saturday, December 27, 2014

Maleficent and Diaval

One of the characters associated with Erzebet is Maleficent, the evil queen of Snow White and others Grimms' tales.  I recieved this set for Christmas, and wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, on this 3d Day of Christmas, 2014.

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: Cotillion; Come Dance with the Dolls

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: Cotillion; Come Dance with the Dolls: Happy Boxing Day, Merry Christmas (It's the 2nd day of Christmas!) and Happy New Year!  When I was a little girl, I used my beautiful ...

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Newsletter on Dolls

From  Ellen Tsagaris, your Guide to Doll Collecting
Just in case, I'm sending out a short newsletter.  The Holidays loom closer and closer, and there are great buys everywhere for dolls and toys.  Darling miniature Elsa and Frozen dolls are at Target, and Monster High and Barbie are flying off shelves!

December 15th Rendezvous
Live and online bidding is available.  Read more about the eclectic and desirable dolls available.

Search Related Topics:  fulper  simon and halbig  shirley temple

Keen on Keane: Big Eyes and Moppet Dolls
Tim Burton, who seems to like what I like, has done it again!  His film on artist Margaret Keane, "Big Eyes" will be out Christmas Day.  Keane's art inspired many dolls and greeting cards during the 60s and70s. Royal's "Lonely Lisa" is one of them.  Read more about Keane and other big eyed dolls including googlies, Blythe, and Kewpies.

Search Related Topics:  keane  big eyes  royal dolls

Theriault's Discovery Day and other Auctions!
Read more about different types of doll auctions and events.

Search Related Topics:  blackler collection  theriault's  cloth dolls

Toy Soldiers IV
Part IV from an excerpt from "With Love from Tin Lizzie . . ."

Search Related Topics:  g.i.joe  galoob  women warriors


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Doll Museum: Medieval Dolls, Part II

Doll Museum: Medieval Dolls, Part II: Here is an article I found, which can be freely circulated for nonprofits, of which we are one: Medieval Dolls Aelflaed of the Weald (Ind...

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Allusion to Erzebet in The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

In some versions of Erzebet's legends, she has a great white wolf for a pet.  Wolves are linked to vampires, and Dracula, whom Stoker allegedly based on our girl, often shape shifted into a wolf.  Of course, The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer and other literature often has vampires at odds with werewolves.

17th C. Neopolitan Krippen or Creche figure; Erzebet would have
been familiar with these.

In a retelling of Red Riding Hood, or maybe another version, Connolly portrays RRH as a young woman in love with a wolf, and who mothers a werewolf.  She roams the forest to entice young girls as lovers or sacrifices to the wolf:

"She would wander the forest paths enticing those who passed her way with promises of ripe, juicy berries and spring water so pure that it could make skin look young again.  Sometimes, she traveled to the edge of a town or village, and here she would wait until a girl walked by and she would draw her into the woods with false cries for help.

But some went willingly, for there are women who dream of lying with solves.

None was ever seen again, for in time the Loups turned on those who had created them and they fed upon them in the moonlight " (88).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Close to 14,000; a Free Newsletter-see the Doll from the Balkans, a costume Erzebet would Know

From Ellen Tsagaris, your Guide to Doll Collecting
A good part of the country has been blessed with early snows.  My heart goes out to the folks in Buffalo and elsewhere; be safe. This week,we have a variety of doll posts with all thoughts moving towards the holiday.  Soon, excerpts from "Creepy A** Humans; The Dolls Reply."  Happy Thanksgiving!  
Grodnertal with Provenance
Wooden doll provenance linked to Queen Victoria! The story of a doll once played with by the great Queen and Doll Collector herself.
Search Related Topics:  queen victoria  grdonertal  wooden dolls
In Praise of Souvenir Dolls
Great collections like Sam Pryor's, Laura Starr's, and Janet Pagter Johl's have been seeded by souvenir and tourist dolls, those small ambassadors of goodwill from faraway lands.  They are a worthy addition to any collection.
Search Related Topics:  international dolls  tourist dolls  souvenir dolls
Why not Everyone Collects Antique Dolls
You might be surprised at why some collectors prefer not to collect antique dolls, even when they admire them.
"Thrifty Treasures:" Discovering a Vintage Collection at Goodwill
A wonderful find gets better with great customer service. The dolls are now sorted and put away, some awaiting TLC, others ready for display. Thrift stores are still great places to find dolls, and buying them there does some good for others as well.
Search Related Topics:  shirley temple  gene dolls  softina

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Bewitched" makes an Oblique Reference to Erzebet

In the Crone of Cawdor episode, Samantha refers the crowne walled up in a castle on a mountain top in Carpathia.  Sounds a lot like Erzebet imprisoned in her castle.  A lot like Cjesthe.  Just a thought. Happy Thanksgiving, to everyone there who reads my blogs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Those who get the Doll Collecting at Newsletter; please be patient. There has been a glitch with publishing it beyond my control. You may read it on my blog, Dr. E's Doll Museum. at I am sorry for the incovenience. I did resend it, so you may get two copies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

17th C Christmas and The Countess' Flower

Planted for me on my birthday is this blood red iris named "The Countess".  Below is an article shared by the NY Times on the Puritan Ban on Xmas in England during the regime of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.  Erzebet was taken and locked up towards Epiphany, when Xmas celebrations would probably have been taking place.  Her Calvinist/Lutheran upbringing was an interesting mix.  Where would she stand on the views of The Puritans?

December 14, 2012

Yuletide’s Outlaws


Lexington, Va.

EACH year, as wreaths and colored lights are hung on any structure that can support their weight, another holiday tradition begins: the bemoaning of the annual War on Christmas.

The American Family Association has called for boycotting Old Navy and the Gap for, out of political correctness, not using the term “Christmas” in their holiday advertising. Parents have criticized schools for diminishing Christmas celebrations by giving equal time to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. And the Catholic League used to have a Christmas “watch list” for naming and shaming “Christmas kill-joys.”

Anxiety over the War on Christmas is, in other words, an American tradition. But few realize how far back that tradition goes. The contemporary War on Christmas pales in comparison to the first — a war that was waged not by retailers but by Puritans who considered the destruction of Christmas necessary to the construction of their godly society.

In the early 17th century in England, the Christmas season was not so different from what it is today: churches and other buildings were decorated with holly and ivy, gifts were exchanged and charity was distributed among the poor.

Also much as it is today, it was a period of carousing and merriment. The weeks around Christmas were celebrated with feasting, drinking, singing and games. Mummers would blacken their faces and dress up in costumes, often in the clothes of the opposite sex, to perform plays in the streets or in homes. Carolers, too, would sing door to door as well as in the home. Wealthy lords threw open their manors, inviting local peasants and villagers inside to gorge on food and drink. Groups of young men called wassailers would march in and demand to be feasted or given gifts of money in exchange for their good wishes and songs.

Puritans detested these sorts of activities, grumbling that Christmas was observed with more revelry than piety. Worse, they contended that there was no Scriptural warrant for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Puritans argued (not incorrectly) that Christmas represented nothing more than a thin Christian veneer slapped on a pagan celebration. Believing in the holiday was superstitious at best, heretical at worst.

When the Puritans rebelled against King Charles I, inciting the English Revolution, the popular celebration of Christmas was on their hit list. Victorious against the king, in 1647, the Puritan government actually canceled Christmas. Not only were traditional expressions of merriment strictly forbidden, but shops were also ordered to stay open, churches were shut down and ministers arrested for preaching on Christmas Day.

The Puritans who came to America naturally shared these sentiments. As the Massachusetts minister Increase Mather explained in 1687, Christmas was observed on Dec. 25 not because “Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian” ones. So naturally, official suppression of Christmas was foundational to the godly colonies in New England.

On their first Christmas in the New World, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony celebrated the holiday not at all. Instead they worked in the fields. One year, the colony’s governor, William Bradford, yelled at visitors to the colony who, unaware that Christmas was celebrated more in the absence than in the commemoration, were taking the day off. He found them “in the streete at play, openly; some pitching the barr, and some at stoole-ball, and shuch like sports.” After that incident, no one again tried to take off work for Christmas in the colony.

The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony went one step further and actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas. From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in the colony would be fined five shillings.

Well into the 18th century, those who attempted to keep the tradition of wassailing alive in New England often found themselves arrested and fined. Indeed, the Puritan War on Christmas lasted up to 1870, when Christmas became a legally recognized federal holiday. Until then, men and women were expected to go to work, stores were expected to remain open, and many churches did not even hold religious services.

So the next time someone maintains that they are defending traditional American values by denouncing the War on Christmas, remind them of our 17th-century Puritan forefathers who refused to condone any celebration or even observance of the holiday. In America, our oldest Christmas tradition is, in fact, the War on Christmas.

Rachel N. Schnepper is a junior faculty fellow in history at Washington and Lee University.

Doll Museum: My Newsletter from Doll Collecting at

Doll Museum: My Newsletter from Doll Collecting at From Ellen Tsagaris , your Guide to Doll Collecting This an eclectic newsletter, as eclectic as the holidays taking place this time of...

We talk about spook dolls, too.  I posted an Erzebet doll on my Facebook Group, The Beauty of Dolls.  It's part of an album.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Countess Replies

The Countess Replies


Alright; enough is enough!  What rubbish!  I am as civic minded as the next member of the nobility, but my good named has been defiled for too long.  400 years too long, to be more precise.  Legend, calumny, eager students, sensationalist, and just plain weirdoes have twisted the truth into 1000 Gordian knots.


Let me set your record s straight.   I am the child of a Lutheran and a Calvinist, and was one of the wealthiest women in Europe, maybe in the world, as we knew it.  I was on par with Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici.  I was widowed at a fairly young age, even for my time.  That bereavement left me with at least 27 castles and estates, with their own little fiefdoms to care for.   And, there were all the villagers who depended on me, their homes dotted all over Europe, many on the very edge of Ottoman aggression.  We were paying blood money to men you would call terrorists in the modern world, as insurance that we would not be attack.


My cousins and relatives were jealous.  My kinsman, the king, turned on me because he owed me money, a lot of money, and because I dared ask him to uphold his honorable promise and repay it. The money wasn’t for me; I had many mouths to feed.  My letters exist and are published.  Read them.  All I did was write letters, constantly.  I spoke several languages, but no peasant tongue or dialect.  I couldn’t have ordered the servants to commit murder and mayhem even if I’d wanted to.  They didn’t understand me.


My estates were kept by stewards; I tried to be vigilant, but I was alone with young children, and no family I could trust.  My parents were dead.  My health was frail; I’ve always suffered from toothaches, and head aches.  Not “fits” or bouts with madness, though a weaker person than I would have crumbled under the responsibilities I bore.  You would call it stress today.


My biggest worry was there would not be enough in the granary to feed all those under my charge.  And war; if I ran out of money to pay the Ottoman thugs, we would have been attacked, and annihilated. 


I understand a Catholic priest who lived at least 300 years after my time began this vampire foolishness.  It’s amazing how slander of that horrific nature, once repeated, takes flight like a mad bird of prey scenting blood.  Many widows were swindled as I was.  There was no proof, no physical evidence, certainly none of your current “DNA” to link me with nay crime.  People died in castles all the time; servants murdered each other, and superstitions ran rampant in my part of the world. Many were still pagan, or witches, but not I.  I was a healer, it is true.  Many women like me of  the lower classes were burned for trying to battle ignorance, for trying to save lives.


Bleeding, cauterizing, home remedies; these were all  we had.  I had to employ all of them, and they weren’t always pleasant means to cure.  But, I saved more lives, certainly I didn’t kill 650 children.  We didn’t have that many in all our estates. 


As lady of the manor, it was my responsibility. People died from illnesses, from starvation, from injuries and fights. Often, they were not discovered right away.  We  ran out of space to bury them in times of plague, and in winter, it was difficult to bury anyone in frozen ground.   Take a tally at some my neighbor’s castles.  See how many died there.


I never bathed in blood; it was hard enough to steal away to bathe in warm water, with soothing eucalyptus and herbs that eased my own pains and miseries.


Everything I did was under scrutiny.  The old Popish priests accused me, and the Lutheran pastor was worse.  He couldn’t abide women heading any household.  Neither could that traitor Thurzo, my husband’s best friend.


Read my letters; see the lack of evidence, see how my poor servants were quickly silenced and murdered.  Even some of my own descendants have maligned me.  I sell a lot of tickets.  It would seem, as an Infamous Lady, I am a useful commodity.  I was denied attendance and counsel at my own trial.  The papers damning me were signed, sealed, and delivered before an public proceedings.   I needed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, but we didn’t have it then.


In the future, I will say more.  I have to consult with my lawyer first.

Free Newsletter; Goth and Wax Dolls Featured and More; Erzebett would like them!!

Weekly Newsletter Doll Collecting at;  It’s Free!!
Wax Heads; PD image


From Ellen Tsagaris, your Guide to Doll Collecting

 Happy Halloween Week all Doll Collectors and Enthusiasts!  There are lots of chances to find interesting dolls this time of year, I hope your spooky doll dreams come true!  Get out your witch, scarecrow, and Dracula dolls, and let the Pumpkin Heads Reign


Modern dolls sold at a farm auction. See what happened to the estate dolls I worked on earlier this year.

Search Related Topics:  auction  danbury mint  patsy


The Shelter for Misfit Doll is a wonderful site; I hope that The Little Dead Girl will refresh and add new material soon!

Search Related Topics:  shelter for misfit dolls  outsider dolls  folk dolls


Read about a doll club's pilgrimage to the ultimate doll store.


 An Amazing Portrait in Wax of the beloved queen and doll collector was a star in the not to distant past Theriault's auction.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Doll Museum: A Video on Wax Dolls

Little Wax Dolls, and, Voodoo!! See Norah Lofts!

Doll Museum: A Video on Wax Dolls: Here is a video I did on wax dolls, to continue our 19th c. history.  Besides Mary Hillier's books, good information is available at Dol...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: Vintage Halloween

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: Vintage Halloween: Courtesy, Keith and Donna Kaonis Halloween as we know it has origins in Ancient Egyptian, Celtic [especially Irish],  and Hipanic cultur...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2013

Once again, we are forced to remember a grim holiday no one wanted, and yet, how can we forget? As I played bridge prisoner today and navigated a screw up that makes Gov. Chris Christie's issue in New Jersey seen like an amuseument park ride, I couldn't help but thin that I was going to work, like the nearly 3000 people massacred that day. Only going to work. Such a simple, innane act that became deadly. I can't bear to think of those people in the planes, clutching their purses, and carryon bags, and boarding passes. Thinking about making connections, planning the rest of the day, not realizing their were boarding flights into eternity. I show my classes images of that day, where we all sat 13 years ago studying Faust and Moby Dick, with no idea of what would happen. It is now 22 mins. after the first plane hit the world trade center. The eeriness of the silent skies that day still deafens me, when no planes where flying, the first time in my life I can remember something like that. They had been grounded after the attacks, and only Airforce I could fly over head. I saw fighter jets on news footage escorting innocent planes and their pilots to our local airports. Chilling, to say the least. I think of the woman who used to work across the street who was there that day, and of my colleauges who sat next to me on 9/11/2001 trembling because they had family at The World Trade Center and at The Pentagon. Thankfully, they were found safe. But, the 27 year old brother of one of my colleauges was not safe; he was killed in one of the Twin Towers. The people my cousing was talking to at Cantor Fitzgerald simply disappeare; the line went dead, and they all belonged to the ages after that. He still can't forget it; one second he was talking to someone, and in an instant, they were gone. Our headquarters are a block away from Ground Zero; people were frantically trying to exchange calls, some that said "are you ok?" and finally, the ones that said, "we're fine, devastated, but we are fine." How can we forget? Or blame ourselves for an act that was so evil and cruel? With Bengazi to add to the legacy of pain, how can we not live in fear? Yet, here we are at our jobs. Email works, the phones are ringing. Stores are open, people are travelling. May we all get through this day, and may it only be a terrible, tragic memory in the future. God Bless all of us, and God Bless The United States.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Comment on on Erzebet

Of course, Jason Porath calls Erzebet a serial kller, and we know this is based on 19th c. hearsay, based on 17th c. hearsay, but whatever. He makes his point. I think he should include Boadicea, Catherine de Medici, Catherine the Great, and Mary I in his who's who of princesses who would never make Disney. Oh, and there is also Grania, the pirate Grace O' Malley. When I think of it, if Erzebet is a serial killer, what is Bloody Mary I herself? Or, for that matter, my own beloved Queen Victoria, whose armies conquered and executed so many under her reign, not to mention those executed during her long reign as queen. Even Gloriana herself, Elizabeth I, is not without blood on her hands. I don't know what all this means, but what will we have to say about our own first woman president, should she end up in a war? Ellen Tsagaris • a minute ago Thank you for an interesting story. The life of Elizabeth Bathory is being revisited and rethought even as I write. Thank you for mentioning her. Dr. Ellen Tsagaris, author of "The Bathory Chronicles; Vol.I Defiled is my Name" and the blog "An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Preview of a Doll Auction of Americana and Herb's Daughters; Read More later about "Witch" Dolls

Folk art is generally defined as art created by people not trained. They didn't go to art studio in college, or take classes at an art institute. Folk artists usually work with what they have, and are fond of assemblage and collage art. Grandma Moses is considered a folk artist in some circles [Incidentlaly, some dolls she made have turned up]. Many quilters, doll makers, potters, and sculptors fit the category, which often branches out into tramp art, convict art, and outsider art. Folk dolls are made of found objects, can be sophisticated or crude, realistic, or not, depending on the artist's natural talent. The first doll had to have been a folk doll. Many experts theorize that a child picked up a stick or piece of bone that resembled the human figure, and, Voila! the doll was born. From the Stone Age come cave paintings and the Venus figures, and we don't know if early humans had art classes to learn how to make this type of art, but all of it began with one person's experimentation. Ethnic art and all types of crafts have been defined as folk art, too, and the category has included national costume dolls, tourist dolls, all handmade dolls, cloth dolls, ethnic dolls, and carvings. Dolls made of unusual materials like dressed fleas [let me know if you have a set for sale out there!], dried apple dolls, cornhusks, rocks, and coal are also called folk dolls, though some are often made in factory settings, like the apple dolls of Isabelle Million [See Coleman's, "Collector's Encyclopedia of Dolls, Volume I"]. Teddy bears and worn plush toys are often considered folk art, ships figureheads, cigar store mascots, scarecrows, snowmen, primitive doll art and others are, too. The best book on the subject is Wendy Lavitt's, "American Folk Dolls." Below is the press release for "An American Childhood" by Theriault's, a doll auction that features hand made and folk dolls. The words below are theirs: Theriault's . . . has a tradition of showcasing the myriad of genres within the world of dolls. Says Theriault's President Stuart Holbrook, 'Each and every collection speaks to the particular vision of the person who assembled those dolls. Yet, there are times when a collector's vision is so pure and focused, that we are left in amazement at the spectrum of dolls that fit within that view.' One's first thought on viewing such a collection, Holbrook adds, "I never imagined . . ." A the October 4-6 auction event in Los Angeles, California at the Universal City Hilton, collectors will have three days to pour over this concept when Theriault's presents a weekend entitled 'An American Childhood', highighted by the collection of the internationally-famous identical twin doll collectors, Valerie and Diane Blackler, whose vision was the quintessential American childhood from the mid-19th century to the first half ot the 20th century. The Blackler twins began their joint collection during their own childhood with one particular focus: dolls that the average girl might carry west in covered wagons, dolls that evoked the simple past that is so beautifully arranged in their coastal home in Naples, California, seemed the very juxtaposition of their own classic "California Beach" persona with blonde bouncy ponytails and vibrant costumes and jewelry for which they were so famous in antique circles in Southern California. 'Sometimes collections mirror our obvious selves', says Florence Theriault, 'but sometimes they reflect something completely different and deeper...the opposite of the obvious.' It is why, when people see this astounding collection it will be a completely different idea than what most collectors might have imagined as The Blackler Collection. The collection is one of the finest offerings of early American cloth and folk art dolls every to come to market, including an astounding collection of black cloth dolls, as well as dozens of fine teddy bears, Raggedy Ann and early studio dolls from such iconic firms as Ella Smith, Emma Adams, and Martha Chase. The collection seamlessly mixes with early wooden toy horses and even a small collection of early country advertising that completmented the Americana vision, as well as, curiously, early Mickey Mouse and Disneyanna. Back to me, I think the catalogs themselves will be a treat! These were two collectors who clearly thought outside the doll house!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Work in Progress

We are still a work in progress, so pardon our dust. I am tweaking the site, here and there, and I have more I want to read and to post about Erzebet and other women like her. Witch Hunts of all type are not new to humanity, nor are they dead. Even today, women are being burned alive for being "witches" in different part of the world. In other places, they are stoned, machine gunned, and hanged by totalitarian regimes. Wealthy woman who are lone are still pray to fortune hunters who woo them, or who like Thurzo, promise to care for them, and then take all they have, sometimes even their lives. Tomorrow, I present a program on herbs and doll making. I was also pleased, if a little disconcerted, to find belladonna, aka, deadly nightshade, growing wild in my area. How timely! Erzebet, a known healer, would have been a target in 17th century Europe, particularly Austria, Hungary, and the parts of Eastern Europe where she had holdings. Almost during her lifetime, Sir William Harvey made inroads into the circulation of the blood, and his studies were also considered heresy. Gallileo and Copernicus were chastised and punished for their studies as well. What chance did a lonely widow have, even a wealthy one! The "blood baths" may have been soakings in eucalyptus leaves, or chamomille, which can turn water read, or maybe it was just water reflected in firelight. She didn't speak the peasant's language, yet allegedly persuaded them to commit murder and mayhem on an epic scale. No physical evidence ties her to anything, and yet, she is condemned. She would have walked free today and brought myriad lawsuits. She spent her times writing letters, travelling among 27+ estates during wartime, caring for her fiefs and her family. She worried about having enough grain to feed everyone, and knew people were stealing from her. She had to worry about the Ottomans, and her own kin stealing from her, and she was owed money by a King, who did not want to pay. She was frail, and aging at a time when widows and single women were a burden, and she had no one left to speak for her. Is it any matter she met the end she did? Till Next Time.

DEFILED is my name full sore Through cruel spite and false report, That I may say for evermore, Farewell, my joy! adieu comfort! For wrongfully ye judge of me Unto my fame a mortal wound, Say what ye list, it will not be, Ye seek for that can not be found.

my name full sore
Through cruel spite and false report,
That I may say for evermore,
Farewell, my joy! adieu comfort!
For wrongfully ye judge of me
Unto my fame a mortal wound,
Say what ye list, it will not be,
Ye seek for that can not be found.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci; It seems to Fit

If man has in himself bones, the supports and armature for the flesh, the world has the rocks, the supports of the earth; if man has in himself the lake of blood, in which the lungs increase and decrease in breathing, the body of the earth has its oceanic sea, which likewise increases and decreases every six hours with the breathing of the world; if from the said lake veins arise, which proceed to ramify throughout the human body, the oceanic sea fills the body of the earth with infinite veins of water.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Writings of Anne Boleyn

Much has been written about Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second queen, but almost none of these texts discuss in detail the writing and speech she left behind. From her unique position of condemned queen, Anne speaks out through her writing and speech in defense of her name; she implicitly criticizes her male judges and Henry VIII who treat her as they would any disobedient “talkative” woman. Because none of the surviving texts about Anne discuss her speech and writing, the modern student o sixteenth century England is left with a confused portrait of a woman who has been branded either whore or saint with almost no attempt to define the human being trapped in the middle of these labels. Yet, Anne left two poems, some letters, and other writings behind which give the modern reader some insight into her actions and personality. She was not content to play the role of objet d’art often assigned ot her. The obstacles she encountered in becoming Queen and in defending herself later served as barriers that influenced her to speak and to write. It is through her poems and letters that we see the woman emerge from the two dimensional image that history has assigned her. Also, many of her contemporaries chronicled her words in a more objective fashion than those sources most often cited as her biographers. Anne, to the Renaissance way of male thinking was a guilty of being a “whore of her tongue,” as of being a “whore of her body” because chaste Renaissance women of her status did not speak in public or chastise their husbands, but negotiated her discourse in various ways from different subject positions. In fact, she sometimes expressed herself through her appearance or through the use of her body. For example, Anne wore French fashions as well as dresses of her own design at Henry’s court. The French dresses emphasized her impressive and impeccable French education which made her desirable as a wife in aristocratic English circles and paid homage to her mentor, Queen Claude. From the earliest history of writing, women writers and speakers, to their horror, have been defined as male creations (Gubar 295). Among other things, women were viewed as art objects which inspired pottery and painting, but they were judged incapable of creating writing themselves, so Anne was portrayed by her cousin, the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, as a “vessel” for royal sons. Henry spoke of her as his “mistress” in a possessive manner when he was aware she wanted to be a legitimate wife (Ives 57). Because she was mere object, a woman in the English Renaissance had no voice or identity of her own, so she made do with the materials at hand (293). Anne, a gifted woman, adorned herself in French fashions and jewels and designed original gowns, so that she decorated herself as if she were some Renaissance Galatea (Gubar 297). Through this “body language,” she was negotiating a means to express her opinions on individuality, her love of French culture, and her fine French education. Later, when she was accused of treason, she again used her body to speak for her, she opened her gown to Master Kingston, constable of the Tower, to show she had nothing to hide and to illustrate her vulnerable position by baring her breast. History does not tell us if she wore a shift under her gown. So successful was she at promoting this image of the Renaissance Galatea, that at lest one biographer has written of her that, after Katharine of Aragon’s death, Anne was “no more than a burnished picture” (Rival 107), framed by her gold jewelry and elaborate headdress. Shakespeare introduces her as a decorative woman at a banquet, one of many such decorative ladies, in his play, Henry VIII ( Micheli 456). Paul Rival, in The Six Wives of Henry VIII, comments that Henry made Anne into his own creation, and that in possessing her, he destroyed her (107). Yet, Anne was not content at playing the role of object d’ art. She was outspoken, intelligent, talented, and a fair poet and songwriter. The obstacles she encountered in becoming queen and in defending herself later served as barriers that influenced her to speak and to write It is through her poems and letters that we see the woman emerge from the two dimensional image scripted for her by historians. Works that will be discussed in this paper include a riddle she is reputed to have written, two poems attributed to her, several recorded instances of her speech, including words spoken at her trial and her last words, a childhood letter to her father, and her controversial last letter to Henry VIII. Where writings have been “attributed to her,” I will discuss why I believe they are hers. Anne’s alleged riddles appear in the Devonshire Manuscript, an anthology of poems written by members of Henry VIII’s court. Included in the manuscript are several identified examples of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poetry. While other biographers have stated they do not believe Anne wrote in the manuscript, one of her modern biographers, Eric Ives, has indicated that he does believe the riddle to be hers (Ives 87-88). Ives points out that for the last seventy years, historians have believed that the manuscript points to a link between Wyatt and Anne. One reason for this belief is hat the manuscript was linked with Anne’s Howard relatives and with Madge Shelton, her waiting woman and cousin. It apparently belonged to Mary Howard, Anne’s cousin and wife to Henry’s illegitimate son, the Due of Richmond (87-88). The Devonshire Anthology consists of almost 200 poems (87-88). The manuscript has passed back and forth, and borrowers would inscribe a poem before they passed it on. Such a practice was common in Henry’s humanist court where all writers presented themselves as readers and editors of other peoples’ manuscripts. Group improvisation of poems was customary, as was circulating a manuscript before printing (Jones 3). Henry himself may have contributed some poems. Attributed to Anne specifically are folios signed “an” and with the motto “amer amni I” which means, “love, Anne.” The accompanying riddle goes as follows: An el men An em e As I have dese I ama yours an When the second and forth letters of each line are transposed, the riddle reads as follows: A lemmen Amene Oh I have dese I am yours an (87-88). The “an” has been held to be a signature, i.e., “Anne,” by some historians, but this theory has been largely disclaimed, the letters may really be only random fragments of lines. (Harrier 582). The next stanza, identified as Thomas Wyatt’s, completes the riddle: “That time that mirth did steer my ship Which now is fraught with heaviness. And fortune bit not then the lip Then in my book wrote my mistress: ‘I am yours, you may well be sure, And shall be while my life doth cleave.” (88-89). Ives acknowledges that the riddle may not be by Anne because it is unlikely that Wyatt would have written love poems to Queen Anne, such an act would be foolhardy and dangerous (88-89). It is even more unlikely, he claims, that she would answer with “I am yours,” Anne.” Yet, there is some evidence that Anne was for Wyatt an object of courtly love (Lofts 93). Anne, though not a classicist, favored the poetry of Petrarch, and her cousin Thomas Wyatt introduced the Petrarchan sonnet in to England (Warnicke, “Women of the English Renaissance, 33). Some of her other relatives at court were also classical humanists who wrote poetry in the style of Petrarch (33). Rather than being an actual lover, Anne would have been an object of Wyatt’s courtly affection, as with Petrarch and Laura de Sade (38) (ancestor of the infamous Marquis). Within the conventions of courtly love, such banter may well have been permissible, especially if written in the early 1530s, when Anne was in high favor with Henry. Also, Wyatt was imprisoned for being one of Anne’s supporters in 1536, a pair of riddles such as these would have been more than ample evidence to imprison him during the dark days when Henry had turned against Anne. One must also remember that Henry considered himself a patron of Christian humanism to the point that the education of women was important to him, at least for appearance’s sake. Mary I benefitted from his personal interest in her early life and could translate Erasmus’ Latin paraphrases on the New Testament as part of a project to publish them in English (33). Elizabeth I later receive a similar education. Henry’s daughters, like Margaret Roper, child of Sir Thomas More, were educated novelties of a new fad favored at Henry’s court. Another piece of evidence used to attack the theory that Anne wrote the riddle is that it is not in her handwriting ( Harrier 582). This is a strong piece of evidence, yet it must be remembered that a person’s handwriting changes over time. Proponents of the handwriting attack do not say which period they are using as a comparative sample of Anne’s handwriting. Harrier only says that the sample is not like any example of Anne’s handwriting that he has ever seen (582). For example, we know that the handwriting she used to write her father in 1514 is bad by Renaissance standards; it differs from the handwriting appearing in her love letters to Henry. As for Anne herself, it is difficult to justify her answer to the riddle. Perhaps as queen she felt she had the right to write anything she pleased. Or, perhaps, within the confines of the court, she was talking part in a mere game involving the rules of courtly love which were so important to her contemporaries. The two poems attributed to Anne are far different from the light-hearted riddle in tone. Originally, they may have been intended to be songs for the lute since Anne was a talented player and was very fond of her instrument (Lofts 164). Anne’s justification for writing them was she was awaiting imminent death. The tone of both poems is that of hopeless resignation and of the fear that infamy would besmirch her good name (164). In any case, they were more than likely written when Anne was imprisoned in the Tower, perhaps after sentence of death was passed upon her (164). It is reasonable to believe that the poems date from this time, and that they would have been preserved, because Cromwell had employed spies to repeat everything they wrote, even two songs for her lute. The shorter of the two poems reads as follows: Defiled is my name full sore Through cruel spite and false report, That I may say for evermore, Farewell my joy! Adieu comfort! For wrongfully ye judge of me Unto my fame a mortal wound, Say what you list, it will not be, Ye seek for that can not be found” (Stanford 18). Some biographers, including Norah Lofts, do not hesitate to say that this is Anne’s poem. Earlier anthologies that I have read clearly identify her as the author of these two poems. Yet, later anthologies and some biographers are more cautious and merely attribute the poem to her without giving reasons for their decisions. I believe for several reasons, however, that these are Anne’s words. For one thing, the first poem “Defiled is my Name” echoes words that Anne spoke when she was arrested and subsequently imprisoned in the Tower of London. Kingston, constable of the Tower, recorded her words carefully (Erickson 268). When first arrested, anne scorned her interrogators and said “For a queen to be so cruelly handled was never seen” (250). This sentence echoes the line in the poem “Defiled is my name full sore/Through cruel and false report.” Moreover, the use of “defiled” and the line “for wrongfully ye judge of me” protest the speaker’s innocence, implying she has been framed and maligned. From the moment she entered the Tower, Anne protested her innocence saying “God help me! I am not guilty of the accusation . . . I beg you to beseech the King’s grace to be good to me” (Bruce 305). At another time, she protested “I shall have Justice . . . If any man accuseth me, I can say but nay . . . And then shall I be in heaven, for I have done many good deeds in my day” (Erickson 254). These are the words of a person steadfastly arguing her innocence, just as the speaker of the poem is. In other words, the speaker of the poem acknowledges that the accusations against her and her subsequent imprisonment were barriers that influenced her to speak in defense of her innocence. The idea that mere mortal words condemn but that divine Providence pardons is implied in Anne’s statement that she shall be in heaven for her good deeds, for only men, mere humans, accuse her. Assuming the speaker is Anne, she is speaking from a particularly unstable subject position. She is accused, among other things, of treason through adultery, yet there is no contemporary legal precedent that even roved adultery of a queen consort was treason (Warnicke 53). Wyatt and others have praised her as the object of Petrarchan courtly love in Henry’s court, yet she is later branded a “whore” for inspiring it, and her admirers are condemned or imprisoned with her. It should be noted that the court was itself an unstable environment where corruption and courtly love mixed uneasily with the fickleness of Henry’s own likes and dislikes. By the time she was sentenced to die, Anne spoke from several seemingly conflicting subject positions. On the one hand, she had been branded a “whore” and could now speak with that uneasy freedom that belonged to women who had nothing to lose. On the other hand, she could justify her discourse because she faced impending death. She spoke to her judges beginning with “Oh God, Thou knowest if I have merited this death . . .” (Lofts 163), once again implying that God alone can judge her because only he knows the truth of her innocence. Her words are cryptic in this speech for she says to the judges “I think you know well the reason why you have condemned me to be other than that which led you to this judgment” (163). As intelligent as she was, she may have been aware that there was no precedent for a case of treasonous adultery. In the same way, the poet writes “For wrongfully ye judge of me,/Say what ye list, it will not be,/Ye seek for that can not be found”(Boleyn 18). The line “Say what ye list, it will not be” is almost a direct translation of the motto Anne used for a time during 1530, “Ainsi sera graigne que graigne” which translated is “Let them grumble, that is how it is going to be (Ives 90). Just as in Anne’s speech, the lines quoted from the poem imply she has been condemned for a reason other than that which the judges claim, and that no evidence exists that she is guilty of the charges. No matter what they say, she is innocent. Her last words express the same sentiment only in more cryptic fashion. The reason for the cryptic style will be addressed later in this paper. In her death speech, Anne says that she is judged to die according to the law (Lofts 178). She goes on to say that if any man meddle in her cause, she requires him to “judge the best” (178). Once again, the implication is that men, mortal authors of mortal law, have condemned her. Any one who takes up a defense of her will see this, and will judge her innocent in the eyes of God. It is interesting that even her nemesis agreed with her on this point. Cavendish, the most vicious of her biographers, has observed that she deserved better treatment than she received (Lofts 163). Magistrates of London stated that her defense of herself was eloquent and that they believed in her innocence, but that the king and his cronies had made up their minds to be rid of her, so that there was no way she could live (Schauer 69). The Lord Mayor himself said he “could not see anything in the proceeding against her, but that they were resolved to make an occasion to get rid of her” (Quoted in Lofts 163). Sir Thomas More, anticipating what Anne’s fate would be said of her “Alas it pitieth me to think into what misery she will shortly come (Quoted in Lofts 146). Anne’s controversial last letter to Henry, dated approximately May 7, 1536, expresses the same sentiments as ‘Defiled is my Name.” The letter is controversial because an early biographer writing in the 1880s, Paul Friedmann, declare this letter to be a forgery (xx). He gives, however, no evidence for this declaration (xx). Mary Hewitt, an American biographer writing in the 1850s, believes without a doubt that the letter is Anne’s and says that she agrees with an even earlier historian who said that the letter “contains so much nature and even elegance, that it deserves to be transmitted to posterity” ( Hewitt 195). Eric Ives, on the other hands, believes the existing letter to be a copy of the original (Ives 67). Ives claims that none of the copies of the letter are contemporary to Anne, but that tradition has it Thomas Cromwell possessed the original (67). Anne is not aware of her specific subject position in the letter, and she says that “as what to write or what excuse, I am altogether ignorant” (Hewitt 195). Yet, she negotiates her discourse by playing the dutiful wife to the end. In this way, she legitimates her right to speak to Henry in the angry way she does. She calls herself a “poor wife”, a “loyal and affectionate” wife who should not be forced to lie to her husband about something she has not done (196). In this letter, Anne warns her royal husband that he is in “imminent danger of the judgment seat of God” for his actions and false accusations against her (Ives 67). In another passage of the letter, Anne says “but if you have already determined of me, and that [not] only my death, but an infamous slander must bring to the enjoying of your desired happiness, than I desire of God, that he will pardon your great sin therein, and that he will not call you to a strict account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at this general judgment seat . . . and in whose judgment, I doubt not (whatsoever the world may think of me) mine innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.” (Quoted in Fenton 159). As in both poems, the letter’s author bemoans the fact that her name will be slandered, and says that God alone will judge her innocent. “Slander” is a carefully chosen word for it involves the defamation of a person’s name or reputation through the use of words. Anne has been accused of being a scold, a whore of the tongue, and in Old Testament fashion, the weapon of her alleged wrongdoing, speech, is now used against her. The strong defense of her innocence is once again expressed in Anne’s last, scathing message to Henry which reds as follows: “Commend me to His Majesty and tell him that he hath ever been consistent in his career of advancing me; from a private gentlewoman he made me a marchioness, from a marchioness a queen and now that he hath left no other degree of honour he gives my innocence the crown of martyrdom” (Lofts 177). Finally, Anne’s own religious faith shares the same belief in God’s justice as the speaker of the poem. Despite her interests in religious reform and Lutheranism which will be discussed in some detail later, Anne was still Catholic. For example, she still believed that at the moment the priest placed the blessed wafer in her mouth, the wafer became the body and blood of Christ (Lofts 173). When she took communion before her execution, she once again protest her innocence, if it were not true, she would not have said for, as a good Catholic, she would have feared eternal damnation for lying (173). Moreover, throughout her trial and imprisonment, Anne swore over and over “on damnation of soul”: that she had not been unfaithful to Henry (Erickson 28). The second poem attributed to Anne, “O Death Rock me Asleep”, has the same sad, resigned tone as “Defiled is my Name.” In “O Death”, the speaker laments her miserable fate and believes only death can free her from her torment. She pleads for death to “let pass [her]weary , guiltless ghost/out of “her’ careful breast” because there is no one to “express” her pains or to plead her cause (Boleyn 18). The same evidence applicable to “Defiled is My Name; applies to this poem as well. Yet, I think that this poem, more than the first, illustrates Anne’s own realization that no one dares to speak for her because her enemies have decided to do away with her. The facts leading up to her trial, imprisonment, and execution, substantiate this statement. State trials like Anne’s were politically inspired and bore little or now resemblance to procedures used in routine civil and criminal trials (Schauer 49). It is also significant that in Henry’s time, a person could be destroyed by her own words, carefully saved and recorded to be used against her. Today, it is possible to construct a fierily accurate picture of her trial from existing records (51). Part of the emotional torture practiced on her was also used on other state prisoners; that is, Anne would have been denied knowledge of her own fate or that of her friends and family, of the coming trial, or of any opportunity to obtain counsel for herself (Bruce 307). The strategy behind this torture by silence was to force the distraught prisoner to talk ton dot incriminate herself (307). Once again, the instability of the society’s attitude towards women is apparent. Women who were “chaste” were not encouraged to speak, especially in public. Yet, if a king and his ministers wanted to destroy a woman, they would do all they could to induce her to speak so that she would incriminate herself. At this point, one must remember that there was no privilege against self-incrimination during Anne’s time. It was not established until the seventeenth century (Schauer 75). Furthermore, Anne repeatedly asked Kingston if she would have justice because she was familiar with the contemporary legal procedures and feared she would not (Erickson 251-52). Even at the height of her glory, Anne knew that she had no friends in England to portray her as chaste. Instinctively, though, she knew that she had many enemies. These included at the time of her trial, Henry, Cromwell, some of her own relatives, and Mary’s supporters. She knew, by the time of her last miscarriage in 1536, that Henry needed to end their marriage quickly, and only a legal solution, albeit with trumped-up charges, would suffice (Schauer 54-58). Despite her valid arguments, Anne has still been portrayed historically as a scold by some writers. Her own keen wit and the tolerant atmosphere of the Dutch and French households where was educated led Anne to burst out angrily at Henry, at one point, even reducing him to tears (Lofts 93) Supposedly, the cause of these arguments was that, as late as 1531, Katharine of Aragon was still regarded as queen. Again, Anne voices concern for the instability of her position, for as long as Katharine lived, many would believe her marriage to be invalid and any children she might bear, illegitimate. Roper goes so far as to say that it was by Anne’s “importunate clamor” that More was arrested, thereby illustrating the danger that woman’s speech could bring (Roper 238). Indeed, in a time when public female silence was equated with chastity, the speech of a noble woman was no less dangerous than the nakedness of her limbs (Ferguson 99). Since scolds were associated with witches and whores, it is fitting that the charges later brought against Anne included accusations that she laughed at Henry’s clothes, mocked him, made fun of his ballads, and called him impotent (Erickson 235). The incest charges and legends of her sixth finger and facial moles were also factors associated with witchcraft (Warnicke 3). Chapuys, the Spanish Ambassador, helped to perpetuate the witch rumors against Anne, as did Nicholas Sanders, a later scholar, who was born in 1530, and who never saw Anne 93). In fact, it was Sanders who first openly called her a witch (3). Because of his bias, Chapuys wrote countless letters about Anne, deliberately distorting stories about her and her appearance (Lofts 91). Other contemporaries of Anne, including Edward Lord Herbert and the Bishop of Salisbury disclaimed the rumors of her “monstrous appearance” (Warnicke 3). Unfortunately, according to Warnicke, too many modern historians have chosen to take Chapuys and Sanders seriously and have labeled Anne as too flirtatious for her own good, thus blaming the victim for her own death and destruction (3). Even Norah Lofts, one of her most sympathetic biographers, claims she had “some little show of a nail” on her left hand and that she had a mole on her neck “said to be the size of a strawberry” (16). One telling shred of evidence that may acknowledge the falsity of these stories is that Elizabeth I was very proud of her beautiful hands, hands she more than likely inherited from her mother (160. Yet, still other historians speak of Anne’s beautiful eyes and gorgeous hair (Ives 52). One has even compared her to Shakespeare’s Dark Lady (Chapman 49). Accusing Anne of being a scold and a witch would have been effective accusations because they would have turned the populace against her, and her detractors felt it was important to have the approval of the people when they turned on her. Anne’s tongue literally had to implicated in her disgrace, and at one point, she was alleged to have lured her own brother by placing her tongue in his mouth (Schauer 71). Good wives and women were admonished not to “give ear unto” stories of Anne’s licentiousness. Anne’s benefactors, too, wanted popular approval, so that Foxe used her last words to vindicate her and said that “. . . her last words spoken at her death declared no less her sincere faith and trust in Christ, than did her quiet modesty bring forth the goodness of the cause and matter, whatsoever it was” (Foxe 135). Foxe is careful to counteract the scold accusations by emphasizing Anne’s pious words and modesty. He also says that Anne had a “mild” nature”, not a quick temper, and that she took “admonishment well” (135-36). According to Foxe, rather than harangue clergymen, Anne asked her chaplains to tell her how she was amiss, and Foxe blames parliament, not the king, for lying in order to destroy her (1936). The king would have had to have been duped or bewitched by others; it would be treason to accuse Henry of lechery, or even bad judgment. Foxe’s defense is carefully chosen, because, in Anne’s time, how a person died defined who she was. Anne knew this, and her last words were carefully calculated to vindicate her life. Like Foxe, George Wyatt also attempts to vindicate Anne through her own words and deeds calling her “elect of God” and a woman of “invincible courage” and “heroical spirit” (Wyatt 24-25). He and Foxe both point to the long, glorious reign of “her happy issue”, Elizabeth, as an indication of God’s approval of Anne’s life and of her innocence (Wyatt 22). Later, Elizabeth sought a Papal Bull permitting her parents marriage, and this was found in 1572 (Warnicke 239). Also, the poem’s speaker in “O Death, Rock me Asleep”, welcomes death as a solution for her pain in the same way that anne apparently did. The last stanza of the poem begins “Farewell, my pleasures past/Welcome, my present pain!/I feel my torments so increase/That life cannot remain (Boleyn 18). This line echoes Anne’s words to Kingston when she heard that her execution would be delayed from early morning to noon: “Master Kingston, I hear say I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry . . . for I thought be dead by this time and past my pain” 9ives 407). She realized that since her name had been defiled and her reputation ruined, she would be better off dead than to be treated with the same disgrace that Katharine was. Anne’s last two public speeches were cryptic, in keeping with contemporary style (Lofts 63). Though she welcomes death as a release from her sorrows, she is careful to be brief and not to accuse anyone directly. Any direct attack on her accusers would have meant even more disaster for her family and for her daughter, whose future was already uncertain because she had been declared illegitimate (Schauer 72). After sentence of death was passed, Anne said: “Oh God, thou knowest if I have merited this death. I think you know well the reason why you have condemned me to be other than that which led you to this judgment. My only sin[s] against the king have been my jealousy and lack of humility. But I am prepared to die. What I regret most deeply is that men who were innocent and loyal to the king must lose their heads because of me (Lofts 163). She may have been thinking of Katharine of Aragon’s own speech before a tribunal. Katharine, too, said that a Queen of England should not be so mistreated (Hewitt 184). Also, she, like Anne, implied that innocent people were being punished and that the court was made up not of her judges, but of her enemies who had a hidden agenda in summoning her before them (184). In the sentence, “ I am prepared to die,” Anne echoes the death wish voiced by the poet of “O Death, Rock me Asleep.” Anne’s last words, recorded by Kingston, were as follows: “Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, according to the Law, for by the Law I am judged to die, and therefore, I will speak nothing against it . . . But I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never; and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign king. And if any person will meddle in my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of this world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me “(Lofts 178). The line, “a merciful prince was there never” could mean “there was never a merciful prince. She probably got away with as much as she said because she faced impending death and the judgment of God. In keeping with the idea that the speech of a noble woman was no less dangerous than the nakedness of her limbs, Anne’s execution was private, with primarily foreigners present. All who watched her die agreed she died well, and Wyatt said she had more perseverance than Atlas, “Much more a woman who yet dying, did seal it with her blood “(25). She spoke firmly, with a “good smiling countenance,” yet significantly confessed no sin on her part (Ives 410). [Later, her cousin Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Rochford, who sister in law did make confessions before their executions. Catherine alleged she died a queen, but would rather have died the simple wife of Tom Culpepper, and Lady Jane plead her innocence regarding the king but alleged her own guilt in brining about Anne and George Boleyn’s deaths George, of course, was her husband]. This missing confession is important because of the Renaissance belief in the afterlife. No one would like in the face of death for fear of eternal damnation. Her refusal to confess was silent, eloquent proof of her innocence to the witnesses who saw her die. With her death, Anne was somewhat vindicated; the German Protestants broke with Henry because of Anne’s execution, and Holinshed, Wyatt, and Foxe wrote openly in her defense. In fact, Foxe insulted the Pope and accused him of judging all women by the courtesans of Rome and further says the Pope”Impudently abuseth his pen in maligning Anne” (Foxe 137). What is ironic here is that the Pope is being treated as a woman writer accused of literary prostitution! Finally, another scaffold confession appears to vindicate Anne completely, but for the fact that its author was blieved at times to be mad. Anee’s sister-in-law, Ldy Jane Rochford, was excecuted with Anne’s cousin, Catherine Howard in 1542. Her last words were: “I am innocent of the crime of which I am accused, but I die justly because I lied long ago when I myself accused my husband George and Queen Anne of incest”(Rifal 168). Anne Boleyn had good cause to lament her good name in the above poems and speeches for it would have been valuable to both her and her family. To enhance her value to her family, she received an impeccable education in The Netherlands and in France to prepare her for life at court. She was also renowned for her ability to speak French and for her eloquent manners, her wit, and her French fashions. It is for these reasons, she and her family would have expected her to make and advantageous marriage. Therefore, she would have shunned being a someone’s mistress, even the king’s, and prized her own chastity. It appears that Anne’s father planned her education for the time she was born. Historians differ in fixing her birth date, but it is generally agreed to be either 1501 or 1507 (Lofts 9). It is somewhat ironic that the birth of this remarkable woman was so inconsequential that no one bothered to record it correctly. Contrary to historical rumor, Anne was not of humble origins, but was born a great lady; one ancestor was Lord Mayor of London from 1457-58 (Ives 3). Her father, Thomas, was an envoy for Henry VII to Margaret, Duchess of Austria and Regent of the Netherlands (Warnicke 7). Thomas Boleyn was a favorite of Margaret, who was also a sister-in-law of Katharine of Aragon. In fact, it was Margaret who taught Katharine to speak French so that she could converse at the English court (Ives 23). As a result, Margaret agreed to provide for the education of Thomas’s daughter, Anne (Warnicke 7). Such an education would provide Anne with a good chance to be a maid of honor at the English court, where French was considered the language o culture. A French education beginning at Margaret’ court would also facilitate Anne’s chances to make an advantageous marriage, which would also advance her father and relatives (Ives 11). Thomas Wyatt’s words on female relatives illustrate Anne’s position as pawn for the sake of the Boleyn and Howard families: “if a female relative be fair, if handsome by her middle, then sell her for a good price to ‘thy better’ and never let friendship get in the way of advantage-that is the only recipe” (11). Moreover, Thomas Boleyn was himself an educated man who spoke French and Latin and was known to study Erasmus (11). He would have appreciated the fine points of a good education in the same way that another Renaissance man, Sir Thomas More would, for his daughter. Learned women were even preferred over virtuous but unlearned women in the Renaissance, but the idea behind such reasoning was, in part, that the proper learning could increase a woman’s virtue (Wayne 22). “Proper learning” included proper ethical conduct, and the latter was intended to restrict women’s behavior and intellectual growth by training them to play specific roles ,e.g., wife, mother, maid of honor (22). For Anne, this Christian humanist education meant that she would learn, among other things, to be able to converse well in French so that she could act as an interpreter of the ideas of others, not so that she could communicate her own. Under Margaret’s tutelage, Anne learned to speak French so fluently that she allegedly spoke English with a slight French accent. Peoples’ memories of Anne in The Netherlands portray an intelligent, alert and self-possessed young woman. She was a quick study and learned French by listening to the ladies at court, then imitating them (Ives 31). Foxe later praised her for “the rare and singular gifts of her mind, so well instructed . . .” (135). Anne could read the scriptures in French and may have owned books by Fish and Tyndale. Later, when she married, her Privy Purse accounts showed money spent for books for Henry (Warnicke 111). She also came to love painting, especially illuminated manuscripts and books (Ives 30). Furthermore, Margaret was a meticulous chaperon for a young girl and insisted on correct department and conversation. She id not even allow gossip in her household (26). Clearly, the young girls in her care were not allowed to engage in “by play” with men at court, and chastity and courtly loved played out according to conventions were emphasized (Ives 26-27). Margaret was also a good poet who used her verse to teach her charges lessons in behavior. In the following example, she is teaching her girls not to confide in their servants: “Thrust in those who offer you service, You will find yourselves In the ranks of those who’ve been Deceived” (quoted in Ives 26-27). Self-protection lay in self confidence and quick wit: “Fine words are the . . .[way] . . . to pay back . . . Word for word, that is justice . . . “(26-27). Anne Boleyn learned this lesson well and was well known during her life for her quick wit and intelligence. Yet, these virtues and Margaret’s lessons betrayed her when she was faced and attached by men to whom the measured conventions of Margaret meant nothing (26-27). For Anne, the quick wit and repartee may have been a way to negotiate for discourse at court. For Henry and his cronies, witty replies labeled her as a scold. According to Bruce, when Anne was later living in the household of Marguerite D’Alencon in France, she was encourage to speak using her own judgment on a variety of topics usually reserved fro men at the English court (Ives 25). Besides learning French and department, Anne had to attend Margaret and share the society of her court, performing any tasks requested of her. She would be expected to join in court entertainment including dances, hunts, and tournaments (26). Because of this training, Anne was good at putting masques together for Henry. She learned to dance well, learning from books by Mechelen (26). In 1514, Anne wrote a letter to her father which is still extant (Ives 24). Ives determines the writing is hers because it has been compared to samples of notes written to her tutor. Anne was between seven and thirteen when she wrote the letter, and it is full of bad errors. The penmanship is bad, and she apologizes for her mistakes. Even though is she so young she knows her responsibility to her father and she expresses the hope that at court, the Queen may talk with her (quoted in Ives 15). The Queen is either Henry’s sister Mary, who married Louis XII of France, or Katharine of Aragon (Warnicke 15). Anne’s justification for writing is her role as dutiful daughter. The letter is formal and serious. According to Bruce, Thomas was pleased with the letter, and kept it carefully, so that we still can read it today (20). From the Regent’s court, Anne was sent to France as maid of honor or child of honor for Henry VII’s sister, Mary Tudor (Lofts 14). Anne continued to learn to dress well, behave well at social events, play and sing, and converse pleasantly (Warnicke 13). After Louis died, Anne stayed on at Francis I’s court as a member of Queen Claude’s Household, and she may have met Leonardo Da Vinci there (Bruce 25). Claude, though only fifteen when she became queen was “Intensely pious and ruled . … over a nunnery rather than a court:” (Quoted in Lofts 17). Claude was so morally upright, that after her death, it was suggested she be canonized (Bruce 21). Because she was bilingual in English and French, she was able to speak directly with Anne. As a person, Claude was shy, warm, and gentle and liked illuminated manuscripts, as did Anne’s mentor, Margaret (37). Perhaps it was from Claude and Margaret that Anne came to admire them, too. Though she bore seven children in rapid succession, she was still concerned for Anne’s welfare and provided her with a suitable governess, Francaise de Rohan, Countess of Tonverre (Warnicke 20). A poem written about Anne in 1536 by Lancelot du Carles, Bishop of Ruiz, confirms the close contact between Claude and Anne (Warnicke 21). Du Carles writes that Anne “zealously watched and imitated Claude’s maids of honor” (21). Another of Claude’s wards and a friend of Anne’s was Claude’s sister, Renee. Renee and Claude were daughters of Anne of Brittany. Rene, in1561, said that she was especially fond of Elizabeth I because she knew she knew Elizabeth’s mother as a child (21). Despite the Queen’s piety, Francis I’s court was a fairly rowdy place, though its licentiousness has been exaggerated (Ives 57). Yet, Anne’s sister, Mary, who was kin France with her, fell into disgrace and was dubbed “The English Mare” by Francis in because of her promiscuity (Bruce 21). Eventually, Mary was sent home. Her bad reputation may have made an impression on Anne. Later historians have argued that Anne refused Henry for so long because she realized that mistresses could soon be discarded as Henry discarded her sister (Chapman 47). Also, Anne’s education would have allowed her to make an advantageous marriage. For this reason, she may have resented the break up of her engagement to Harry Percy. At one point, she angrily writes, “I have been waiting long, and might have contracted some advantageous marriage, out of which I might have had issue, which is the greatest consolation in this world, but alas! Farewell to my time and youth bent to no purpose at all” (quoted in Lofts 40). Apparently, Anne was writing Wolsey, and she was angry because he was tampering with her prospects for a good marriage. She is kept from becoming a “scold” because she has a legitimate right to contract an attractive match, and because she has responsibilities to her family, too. It is evident that Anne is negotiating for far more than the right to be the royal mistress. In sum, Anne’s formative years were spent absorbing French culture. She was introduced to various religious reforms and was educated with the most famous children of the age (27). Such company would have certainly heightened her own sense of personal worth and strengthened her ambition to elevate her status. The women who were her mentors were also strong female role models and patrons of the arts ( Bruce 27). During this time she also became interested in religious other than Catholicism. As Queen, she was abler to indulge these interests to some extent. For example, she was allowed to intercede for Lutherans who were in trouble with the Crown. At one point, one Thomas Passmore was released from the Lollard’s Tower because of her (Warnicke 111). Once again, her role models in these good deeds were the women of Claude’s court (111). In a letter that she wrote to Wolsey, Anne asks pardon for the Archdeacon of Oxford, whose goods hade been seized by pleading “I beseech your Grace thereof; it is the conceit and mind of a woman” (Warnicke 64, n. 12). She admitted to Henry that she read William Tyndale’s forbidden book and encouraged Henry to read it, too (Warnicke 113). Anne also read French religious material (113). Anne was particularly interested in St. Paul’s letters, an unusual choice for a woman interested in religious reform given Paul’s admonition that a woman should keep silent in church (Ives 328). Whether her speech and writings involve religious, death, judgment, or courtly love, what emerges is an intelligent woman not content with the strictures of her time on women’s speech, though she had been trained to be a family asset and accomplished woman of the court. She is as full of contradictions as the English Court and its games. Yet, in her darkest hour, she reveals a grace under pressure and courage that moved even her enemies to admiration. The one person who could have vindicated her once and for all was silent, but that silence is not necessarily damning. Elizabeth I, too, spent time in prison fearing for her life. She knew the potential danger and instability of her position even when she became queen, and she could not risk it by insulting her father through praise of her mother. Throughout her reign, however, there are indications of what she really thought. For example, Anne is portrayed in a pageant celebrated to Honor Elizabeth’s reign. And, the most eloquent approbation of all is the fact that Elizabeth adopted her mother’s badge, the white falcon. The fact that more of Anne’s letters have not surfaced is suspect. As several biographers have noted, women are more likely to keep letters and keepsakes than men; yet even the few omen we know were close to Anne did not apparently preserve her letters. It is entirely possible that they did not keep them for a time, but that they were gathered and destroyed by Cromwell for fear that their discovery might elicit sympathy for the doomed queen at court, or worse, among the populace. Until a literary miracle occurs and some ancient strongbox surfaces with more documentation of Anne’s life, history has given the modern biographer only fragments with which to work. Yet, these fragments reveal a remarkable woman, who negotiated discourse to legitimate speech and writing under even the most trying conditions. Perhaps it is fitting to end with her own words: “And if any person will meddle of my cause I require them to judge the best” Works Cited Primary sources: Boleyn, Anne. “Defiled is my name Full Sore.” The Women Poets in English: An Anthology. Ed. Ann Stanford. St. Louis: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1972. ---. “O Death, Rock me Asleep.” ---. “To Henry VIII.” 6 May 1536. In Anne of the Thousand Days.. by Edward Fenton New York: The New American Library, 1970. ---. “To Thomas Boleyn.” 1514. In Anne Boleyn by Marie Louise Bruce, St. James Place London: Collins, 1972. Henry VIII. The Letters of Henry VIII. Ed. M. St. Clare Byrne. London: Cassell, 1968. Secondary sources: Anthony, Evelyn. Anne Boleyn. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1957. Beilen, Elaine V. Redeeming Eve: Women Writers of the English Renaissance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. Bruce, Marie Louise. Anne Boleyn. St. James Place, London: Collins, 1972. Chapman, Hester W. Anne Boleyn. London: Jonathan Cape, 1974, Erickson, Carolly. Mistress Anne. New York: Summit Books, 1984. Foxe, John. The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe. Vol. V. 1554. New York: Ames Press, 1965. Friedmann, Paul. Anne Boleyn: a Chapter of English History: 1527-36. 2 vols. London: Macmillan and Co., 1884. Gubar, Susan. “The Blank Page.” Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature & Theory, Ed. Elaine Showalter. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985. Hewitt, Mary Heroines of History. New York: Sheldon, Lamport, and Blakeman, 1855. Ives, E.W. Anne Boleyn. Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1986. Jones, Ann Rosalind. “Writing the Body: Toward an Understanding of l’Ecriture Feminine.” In Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory by Elaine Showalter, Ed.. New York Pantheon Books, 1985 Loades, D.M., Ed. The Papers of George Wyatt, Esquire. London: Offices of The Royal Historical Society, 1968. Lofts, Norah. Anne Boleyn. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1979. ---. Queens of England. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday & Co., 1977. Micheli, Linda McJ. “ ‘Sit by Us’: Visual Imagery and the Two Queens in Henry VIII. “ Shakespeare Quarterly. (38 )1987): 452-466. Mozley, J.F., John Foxe and his Book. New York: Octagon Books, 1970. Rival, Paul. The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Transl. Una, Lady Troubridge. 1936. New York: Berkley Medallion Books, 1971. Schauer, Margery Stone, and Frederick. “Law as the Engine of State: The Trial of Anne Boleyn.” 22 William and Mary Law Review 49 (1980). Sylvester, Richard S., and Davis P. Harding. Two Early Tudor Lives: The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey by George Cavendish, The Life of Sir Thomas More, by William Roper. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962. Warnicke, Retha. The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ---. Women of the English Renaissance and Reformation. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1983. * Note that there are now Internet sites and Social Media sites on Anne too numerous to list here, but they include Facebook’’s The Anne Boleyn Files, Nell Gavin’s book, Robin Maxell’s The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Julia Fox’s Book on Lady Jane Rochford, The TV series, “The Tudors,” two new documentaries on PBS on The Six Wives of Henry VIII, the original early 70s BBC production on PBS The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Phillippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance and the film “The Other Boleyn Girl,” The opera Ana Bolena, numerous mentions in Lasher and other works by Anne Rice, Lacey Baldwin’s nonfiction book on her, the film The Private Life of Henry VIII, the book Great Harry, Alison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Antonia Fraser’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Children of Henry VIII, Molly Hardwick’s Blood Royal, a host of novels published on Kindle, and Shakespeare’s play, Henry VIII. Many mentions of Anne occur in fictional and nonfiction works and films about Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, Mary I and Elizabeth I as well, and of course, there is The Prince and the Pauper and the Barbie doll film, The Princess and the Pauper. Appendix Defiled is my name full sore Through cruel spite and false report, That I may say for evermore, Farewell my joy! Adieu comfort! For wrongfully ye judge of me Unto my fame a mortal wound, Say what you list, it will not be, Ye seek for that can not be found” (Anne Boleyn, Stanford 18). (Some of these lyrics for the lute are played during the film Anne of the 1000 Days). “But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired happiness: then I desire of God, that we hill pardon your great sin therein, and that he will not call you to a strict account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at this general judgment seat . . . and in whose judgment , I doubt not (whatsoever the world may think of me) mine innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.” (Alleged last letter to Henry VIII quoted in Fenton, Anne of the Thousand Days 189). Anne’s Letter to her Father, (1514) Sir, I understand by your letter that you wish that I shall be of all virtuous repute when I come to the Court and you inform me that the Queen will take the trouble to converse with me, which rejoices me greatly to think of talking with a person so wise and virtuous. This will make me have greater desire to continue to speak French to do so, and with my own hand I inform you that I will observe it the best I can. Sir, I beg you to excuse me if my letter is badly written, for I assure you that the spelling is from my own understanding alone, whereas the others were only written by my hand, and Semmonet tells me the letter will wait unless I do it myself, for rear that it shall not be known unless I write to you, and I pray you that you are sure where you can, if you please, make me a neither [??] nor ingratitude which might check or efface my affection, which is determined to [?] as much unless it shall please you to order me, and I promise you that my love is based on great firmness that will never grow less, and I will make an end to my [?] after having commended myself right humbly to your good grace. Written at five o’clock by your very humble and obedient daughter, Anna de Boullan.