Revealing Anne Lister of Shibden Hall

January 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm (books, diaries, estates, history, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are two connotations to the word “revealing”: to reveal (v) = to expose; revealing  (adj) = enlightening, illuminating.

Either would actually fit the title of a 2010 BBC special that I watched Sunday evening. The wonderful things to see in the special Revealing Anne Lister: to see Helena Whitbread, who published some of Lister’s diaries in the 1980s; and … to SEE THE DIARIES!

You can read more about Helena Whitbread and her Lister books here.

I used to enjoy History to Herstory – a website on Yorkshire Women’s Lives, which used to have a wonderful section on Lister: pictures, extracts of the diaries by Whitbread and Jill Liddington (who’s published some further books on Lister’s diaries). But today I see the website has been “new and improved” — and frankly I’m not sure WHERE to find the bits and pieces about Lister that I loved. If you solve the mystery of their disappearance, do let me know.

The time period of Anne’s diaries make them VERY much of interest to Two Teens; and the story of the publications and the writers working on them are worthy of notice too. A high recommendation for the BBC special.


  1. Charlotte Frost said,

    Thanks for these links, Kelly. I, too, wonder whether our mutual acquaintances ever met Anne Lister.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Charlotte —

      I’ve wondered if the Cunliffe-Listers are any relations (these are Mary’s grandfather’s people), but if I have proved or disproved it for myself it’s in a file somewhere rather than in my brain…

      The families travel, but Yorkshire seems never to be on their routes (more gorge than moor tourists).

      I will say, though, that people whose writings (diaries and/or letters) survive enough to prompt investigation into their lives seem to always end up somehow running into each other!

      I did see your note on Helena Whitbread’s twitter account re: Sir William Knighton.

      I was reading Jill Liddington’s late 1980s essay on the historians who had in the past worked on the Lister diaries; I do wish someone would publish more encompassing accounts of them, if not a definitive edition. Patience!


      • Helena Whitbread said,

        Re Janeite Kelly’s closing comment above, I am (and have been for a number of years) working on a full biography of Anne Lister and her circle of women lovers/friends/family. Quite a number of scholars have made her the subject of their theses, from undergraduates to Ph.Ds. There is always scholarly work going on concerning the charismatic Anne Lister!

      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Dear Helena,

        Your Lister biography will be a great pleasure to see, and read. I really admire your work over all these years. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, you and Deirdre Le Faye are two scholars I look up to. You both took on subjects, dug up information, published, found more, published more. Exceptionally impressive!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: