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Review: The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister - Edited By Helena Whitbread

Posted July 14th, 2016 at 05:26 AM by HistoricalGeek

This review will cover the book just enough to hopefully encourage you to read it yourself.

Typed from notes I made as I read.

The introduction as Helena writes it covers much of what to expect from the diaries, including much detail on why she has been the first to transcribe and publish the diaries.

Going into the diaries itself, I appreciate that Helena only interjects when she needs to, so she can explain things.

1816 – Where the diaries begin was clearly an interesting year for Anne although some of the entries come off a little scheming.

1817 – Covers Anne’s attempt to study and self-educate. This is where she begins to feel ‘real’ to me, she starts to write as you would expect anyone to.

1818 – Starts slow and a little blandly, after April that all changes.

1819 – The year in which ‘Miss Browne’ is most popular. She does, however, fade during the year.

1820 – Isabella and Mariana most present. Day to day happenings seem less bland, perhaps as more is uncoded (by Helena) in this year.

1821 – 1840 – A return to mostly day to day although the years post 1821 do seem intriguingly full of women and business.

All in all a fab book if you want to understand how a woman had to fight for her freedom, not least a woman who self-identified as a ‘lover of women’ although we would probably just call her a lesbian. (The word lesbian is never actively used.)
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