How do you write about a woman who has already written a diary of over four million words? About a woman whose every letter artfully re-presents the truth? Reading Anne’s heavily abbreviated handwriting and deciphering her private coded sections daunts even the most determined of historians.
In 1990 Jill Liddington, living in Halifax just a mile from Shibden Hall, began work on the 1830s diaries. First published in 1998, Female Fortune: the Anne Lister diaries 1833-36 is the book that inspired Sally Wainwright to create Gentleman Jack. Series 1 was broadcast in 2019 and series 2 is expected this spring. The new edition from Manchester University Press includes a fascinating Afterword on the recent discovery of an Ann Walker diary
In this lecture, Dr Liddington explores precisely how Anne Lister has been presented by different generations of editors and historians. She traces this story through the lens of LGBT history, from 1840 when Anne Lister died, right up to Gentleman Jack in 2019.
Anne Lister is a brilliant example of an outspoken, courageous, Northern woman who found her own voice at a time when so many women were silenced.
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