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May 1832 Anne Lister was making her way home to Halifax and ancient Shibden Hall Betrayed once again by another woman’s marriage plans she knew her romantic youth was over So many of her female friends had married and settled Anne cast around forlornly for the life companion she had so long sought She held melancholy spirits at bay by reading new geology and new gardening books in Shibden’s well stocked library
 Then a chance re acuaintance with neighbouring heiress Ann Walker changed all that Anne Lister is best known to us as a lesbian diarist Nature’s Domain tracks her intense courtship of Ann Walker vividly and candidly recorded in Anne’s daily journals and partly written in her own secret code This influential Anne Lister book also documents how she began redesigning the Shibden landscape and playing a powerful new role in the local political tumult after the passing of the great Reform Bill This dramatic story hitherto unknown and never before unpublished unfolds to New Year’s Eve 1832 It records how Anne Lister’s indomitable will enabled her to mould nature to her own powerful desires “Nature’s Domain gives a compelling overview of a key time in Anne Lister’s remarkable life Jill Liddington guides us knowledgeably through the diaries of 1832 offering crucial insight into Anne’s private and candour observations about love sex money and politics” Laura Johansen Cultural Destinations Manager Halifax Jill Liddington is co author of One Hand Tied Behind Us 1978 which became a suffrage classic She is author of Presenting the Past Anne Lister of Halifax 1791 1840 1994 and of Female Fortune the Anne Lister diaries 1833 36 1998 She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and lives in Mytholmroyd near Halifax Sally Wainwright’s BBC1 drama series Gentleman Jack was inspired by Female Fortune and Nature’s Domain


10 thoughts on “Nature's Domain Anne Lister and the Landscape of Desire

  1. says:

    A great introduction to the original Anne ListerA very easy agreeable read I’ve studied Anne Lister since I saw the movie “Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister” starring Maxine Peake I also have watched all “Gentleman Jack” episodes on HBO This is a natural and thorough go to to learn about this very pre Victorian pre modern and super interesting woman


  2. says:

    Liddington's edition of Lister's diaries is considerably scholarly in tone and scope than the Whitbread volumes Though they cover different time periods the Liddington is a breath of fresh air after finishing both of the Whitbread volumes partly because Anne knows herself much better and is decisive in her writing but largely because they are so professionally edited and craft a galloping narrative that compels the reader's attention while at the same time the notes and analysis make it clear exactly what has been edited out so the reader's attention is never divided by wondering why particular editorial choices were made An altogether professional rendition of a small chapter of this sprawling and historically important diary


  3. says:

    An account of Anne Lister in 1832 aged 41 This covers the period of Anne returning home to Shibden Hall after the end of her relationship with Vere Hobart making improvements to Shibden and the surrounding landscape and becoming reacuainted with and beginning her courtship of Ann Walker The book is mostly made up of long sections from Anne Lister’s diaries presented with some commentary by historian Jill Liddington Reading Anne Lister’s diaries in 1832 feels like somewhat of an emotional roller coaster Starting with Anne’s return to Shibden heartbroken and cynical after Vere Hobart’s engagement and Anne’s severed connection with Mariana Lawton The volume covers the beginning of Anne’s relationship with Ann Walker It’s really incredible to read the early months of this courtship Anne is clearly smitten She is hopeful and romantic again These early moments are such a pleasure to read even if short lived We also see the severity of Ann Walker’s mental health issues and the intense impact on both women Liddington's exploration of Anne Lister and Ann Walker continues in her book Female Fortune Land Gender and Authority The Anne Lister Diaries and Other Writings 1833 36Jill Liddington tends to take a measured and neutral view of Anne Lister than some of the other historians who write about her This actually took some getting used to for me as the last couple Anne Lister books I’ve read were written by authors whose love of Anne was pretty palpable as is mine There were a few things that bothered me at the beginning of this book I truly hate it when Anne Lister is referred to as a “predator” of women This feels incredibly reductive and bordering on homophobia In general though I respect Liddington’s scholarly and neutral presentation of Anne ListerThe fact that we are able to read Anne Lister’s diaries and witness her relationships with women her business acumen her voraciously curious mind etc is something that I never take for granted I continue to feel awed by it all Every review of an Anne Lister book I’ve written three so far tends to devolve into a deluge of my Anne Lister feelings I’m glad that this one is no different though perhaps I’ve managed to keep the gushing to somewhat of a minimum here


  4. says:

    Wow Anne Lister had a lot to say It was fun to read of the original journal entries than what was included in the Gentleman Jack companion book The time frame is also much clearer reading it this way This book is SHORT though and you basically have to read the next one to get the conclusion to the story


  5. says:

    I enjoyed Gentleman Jack on the television and also a talk by Jill Liddington at the Portico Library in Manchester Anne Lister is a fascinating character and Liddington's careful research and commentary brings us a lot of information abut her answering some of the uestions that the TV serial raised Lister was a prolific writer


  6. says:

    Loved this bookI have read several books on the life of Anne Lister and Jill Liddington has produced the best by farAn amazing book about an amazing woman


  7. says:

    A small part of Anne Lister's life is described in this book The beginning of her relationship with Ann Walker


  8. says:

    Not my favourite but still about Anne so still great


  9. says:

    A fine overview


  10. says:

    Fascinating readingI found this book very easy to read especially with the notes provided Any little confusion on my part taken care of by notes paragraph usage and brackets😁