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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2023
Print publication year:
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Book description

This is the first edited collection of essays on the nineteenth-century diarist Anne Lister. Now recognized as a UNESCO world heritage document, Lister's five-million-word diaries are paradigm-shifting in terms of their range of material, from social commentary and politics to breath-taking travel accounts. However, they have become most well-known for their explicit descriptions of same-sex practices, written in code and constituting a significant portion of their content. The essays here address the variety and interdisciplinarity of the diaries: Lister's negotiations with her own 'odd' identity, her multiple same-sex relationships, her involvement in politics and her lifelong thirst for knowledge. It also addresses Lister studies in popular culture through the successful Gentleman Jack BBC-HBO series, including an interview with Sally Wainwright and foreword by author Emma Donoghue. This title is part of the Flip it Open Programme and may also be available Open Access. Check our website Cambridge Core for details.


‘This is the smart, timely, interdisciplinary book that Anne Lister deserves. The range of topics and approaches by the authors is well-suited to their dynamic subject, who herself was never contained by the norms of her day. An essential volume of new essays about the most prolific diarist and chronicler of lesbian love of her time.'

Jen Manion - Amherst College

‘Anne Lister was an aristocratic woman who embraced her masculinity, flirted and more with women in her orbit and kept coded diaries her whole life. These diaries are long overdue for sustained analysis. This collection of essays promises to remedy what has been an overlooked treasure trove of information about sex and intimacies between elite women in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and they decode the life, the loves, the genders and the social worlds of the inventive and marvelous Anne Lister.’

Jack Halberstam - author of Female Masculinity, Duke University Press

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