Gentleman Jack: Anne Lister and her Diaries

This event has finished Took place on: Thursday, 28th Feb 2019

The story of ‘the first modern lesbian’ is told by Jill Liddington, Angela Steidele and guests

Ahead of a major television dramatisation, the story of ‘the first modern lesbian’ is told by Jill Liddington, Angela Steidele and guests. Recently decrypted sections of the diary of Anne Lister (1791–1840), a wealthy landowner from Yorkshire, revealed her passionate love affairs with women. Anne Lister kept a diary totalling more than four million words. She kept the diaries from the age of 15, when she fell in love with her fellow pupil Eliza Raine, until her untimely death from an insect sting, at age 49, while travelling in Russia. They include a wealth of information about politics, business, estate management, religion, education and reading, science, medicine, travel, and local and national events, as this important area of Yorkshire experienced the rapid effects of the Industrial Revolution, seen from the viewpoint of an extremely well-educated pioneer.  

About one sixth are written in a self-devised code based on a combination of algebra and the Greek alphabet, to which Anne referred as her ‘crypthand.’ She was convinced that no-one would ever be able to decode it. 

She was wrong. In the 1980s encoded portions of Anne’s diaries were unpicked to reveal her passionate love affairs with women, and painfully honest reflections on her sexuality. 

Dressing always in black, without any feminine frills, the locals knew her as ‘Gentleman Jack’, which is the title of a major forthcoming BBC/HBO dramatisation of her story, created by Sally Wainwright and starring Suranne Jones. Image: A page from Anne Lister's Diary © West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale and portrait of Anne Lister by Joshua Horner c 1830 © Calderdale Museums

Cost: £15.00


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2019-02-28 2019-02-28 Europe/London Gentleman Jack: Anne Lister and her Diaries The story of ‘the first modern lesbian’ is told by Jill Liddington, Angela Steidele and guests https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/calendar/2019/02/28/gentleman-jack-anne-lister-and-her-diaries-191563 The British Library,96 Euston Road, London,London,London

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The British Library,

96 Euston Road, London,
London,
London,
NW1 2DB

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