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Anne Lister 06 Nov 2009
Anne Lister: copyright courtesy of Calderdale Museums
"The First Modern Lesbian"

Filming is about to begin at Shibden Hall near Halifax in West Yorkshire on a new BBC costume drama - this time the subject is Anne Lister who owned and lived at Shibden Hall at the beginning of the 19th century. Anne was a prolific writer and left behind a fascinating record of her unconventional life in her letters and diaries. When these diaries were published almost 20 years ago they led to a flurry of feminist scholarship and a reassessment of what we thought we knew about same sex relationships in the 19th century. The word ‘lesbian’ would not have been in Anne’s vocabulary, but in the diaries she talks frankly about her liaisons with women and towards the end of her extraordinary life, she lived openly with another woman, Ann Walker, in a same sex partnership that pre-dated the Civil Partnerships Act by almost 200 years. To discuss her life and diaries Jenni is joined by her biographers Helena Whitbread and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, Dr Jill Liddington.

Image of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall by Joshua Horner , copyright courtesy of Calderdale Museums

Calderdale Museums
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