Every book written about Anne Lister

Lívia LabatePublished on 28 December 2019, last updated on 25 December 2020

There are many books about Anne Lister's life and times exploring different periods and facets of her history, including insights into the lives of Ann Walker, Eliza Raine, Mariana (Belcombe) Lawton, and others who were important to her.

Some volumes have been reprinted, re-edited and republished over the years—sometimes under different titles, with and without updates, and under different covers. This makes it difficult to understand what they are about, how to obtain them and where to start.

This list summarizes all known editions to help readers navigate and find the right content.

Each book (will eventually) have a short summary, relevant publishing details about different editions, as well as links to where to obtain paperback and digital copies.

This list replaces the prior spreadsheet serving the same purpose.

Note: Helena Whitbread is currently writing a biography of Anne Lister and seeking a publisher. No release date or further information has been announced so this upcoming title has not yet been included in this list.

Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister

by Anne Choma, edited by Stella Merz

⭐️ A great choice if your introduction to Anne Lister was the Gentleman Jack TV show (on HBO or BBC One).

This book covers the same time period as Season 1 (1832-34) when Lister returns to live at Shibden Hall, up until her marriage to Ann Walker, providing context and journal excerpts.

It came out in April 2019 with different covers for US and UK markets, and respective TV show companion denominations for HBO and BBC One. Paperback and digital versions are identical; the UK version paperback includes a set of wonderful photos in the middle of the book not present in the US version. This book has been translated into Hungarian (thought not available online).

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Presenting the Past: Anne Lister of Halifax 1791-1840

by Jill Liddington

⭐️ If you are looking to really jump into more in-depth Anne Lister research (beyond supplementing your enjoyment of the TV show), this is the book to start with.

Jill Liddington provides essential historical context for understanding Anne Lister as well as how she came to be interpreted by different researchers and revealed to the broader public over time.

First published in 1994, this book was updated in 2010 and 2017. As with all her books, Jill Liddington provides an updated preface with each edition offering relevant historical perspectives about changing norms and how they shaped different levels of understanding over time.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

The Early Life of Miss Anne Lister and the Curious Tale of Miss Eliza Raine

by Patricia Hughes

Focusing on Anne Lister and Eliza Raine's relationship since their teenage years, this book primarily covers 1804-1825, including numerous letter transcripts between them, as well as Eliza's end of life care.

The digital version is the latest (4th edition) as of December 7, 2015. Previous paperback versions can still be found with a variety of covers, as shown here. The pink marbled cover is the latest edition.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Nature's Domain: Anne Lister and the Landscape of Desire

by Jill Liddington

Covers the period of time when Anne Lister returned to Shibden Hall and engaged in renovating and improving the estate while pursuing a relationship with Ann Walker (focus on 1832), including valuable context and transcript commentary.

First published in 2003, this book has been revised multiple times, most recently in 2019 (with a new expanded preface). The paperback version is harder to find in the US but can be easily obtained from the publisher.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Pennine Pens US/UK · Amazon UK

I Know My Own Heart (The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister: Volume I)

by Helena Whitbread

Published originally in 1988 as I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister, 1791-1840, this book has seen multiple revisions, the most recent from June 19, 2012 by Virago Modern Classics. The newly (2019) published version under the new title, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister: Volume I, is an expanded version of the original.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

No Priest But Love (The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister: Volume II)

by Helena Whitbread

⭐️ The new edition is now available!

Published originally in 1992 as No Priest But Love: The Journals of Anne Lister from 1824-1826 this book has seen two revisions (most recently in 2015) and a new expanded edition published in 2020 by Virago under the new title The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister: Volume II.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Female Fortune: Land, Gender and Authority

by Jill Liddington

This book covers Anne Lister's journal entries and correspondence during the period of 1833-1836. Sally Wainwright's top desert island book pick!

First published in 1997 under the title Female Fortune: The Anne Lister Diaries and Other Writings 1833-36, it has seen a few revisions, including an excellent 2019 preface.

Digital: Not yet available | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Secret Diaries Past & Present

by Helena Whitbread, Natasha Holme

This book has not yet been reviewed and is listed here for completeness.

No publishing notes.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Miss Lister of Shibden Hall, Halifax: Selected Letters, 1800-1840

by Muriel M. Green

Muriel M. Green’s “Selected Letters” shed light on Anne’s developing character and maturity starting with a precocious letter at age 9 to her beloved Aunt Anne, and ending with a final draft letter to her long-term lover Mrs. Mariana Lawton in 1840.

The book also includes letters to Anne's beloved brother Sam, Sibella MacLean, Maria Barlow and others whom Anne cherished. The letters chronicle both extraordinary events and travels, and the minutiae of daily life at home at Shibden Hall.

The letters display Anne’s vigorous, vivacious nature always intending to entertain, or convey tender or fervent sentiments. An essential “other side” of Anne’s prolific and often charming writing is revealed to those who meant so very much to her.

Note: Muriel Green conducted extensive primary research on Anne Lister's letters and other materials from Shibden Hall but sadly only a small portion of it has been published. See Jill Liddington's Presenting The Past for a chapter dedicated to Muriel Green's work at Shibden.

Published in 1992. Out of print, hard to find.

Anne Lister's Secret Diary for 1817

by Patricia Hughes

This book has not yet been reviewed and is listed here for completeness.

No publishing notes.

Digital: none available | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Anne Lister of Shibden Hall

by Angela Clare

This book offers a concise introduction to Anne Lister.

The book offers a good selection of stunning photos of Shibden Hall and of some of Anne's documents, like her journals, travel journals, and some correspondence. The information contained in this book is enough to provide an introduction to Anne's life to people who have visited Shibden Hall but haven't necessarily watched Gentleman Jack.

Paperback: The Book Corner · Shibden Hall Store (only format available)

In the Footsteps of Anne Lister (Volume 1): Travels of a remarkable English gentlewoman in France, Germany and Denmark in 1833

Adeline Lim

This book contains never before published excerpts of Anne Lister’s diary and letters, spanning June to December 1833, maps of Anne’s journey, and an appendix listing all the villages and cities Anne traveled through or visited in France, Germany, Luxembourg and Denmark, including landmarks that the 21st-century traveler can visit today.

Through Anne Lister's travels, Adeline discovers a different facet of Europe, one steeped in historical significance brought to life by Anne’s words. Her journey brings her consolation, ignites in her a passion for Anne’s travels, and engenders a deep respect for the intrepid Anne Lister.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Kissing Gentleman Jack: Anne Lister of Shibden Hall and the search for a female companion

by SL Smith

This book has not yet been reviewed and is listed here for completeness.

Self-published; no background information available about the author.

Digital: Amazon US (only format available)

Première Ascension du Vignemale

by Ann Lister and Luc Maury

This book has not yet been reviewed and is listed here for completeness.

Luc Maury was a French author who worked with Vivian Ingham. The book contains French translations of sections of Anne's journal pages from her time in the Pyrenees in 1838.

Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK (only format available)

Gentleman Jack: A Biography of Anne Lister — Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist

by Angela Steidele

⚠️ Do not start your Anne Lister research here.

This book is organized into chapters focusing on each woman Anne Lister had a relationship with. The author did not read and transcribe the journal entries quoted herself, unlike others on this list. The result is a somewhat narrow (and unfairly negative) framing of Anne Lister's character emphasizing salacious stories and containing some verifiably incorrect, non-factual information.

First published in German as Anne Lister: Eine erotische Biographie on September 1, 2017. Other editions have been translated to English by Katy Derbyshire and can be found under a variety of covers, as shown here. On September 2020 an Italian translation came out under the title Nessuna mi ha mai detto di no. Anne Lister e i suoi diari segreti published by Somara.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Caballero Jack: Los Diarios de Anne Lister

Translated by Carmen Álvarez Hernández

⚠️ This is not an original work nor is it a direct translation, but it is the only book available in Spanish.

This book is a melange of translated passages and chapters from Jill Liddington, Helena Whitbread, Muriel Green, and Patricia Hughes's bodies of work.

The "Spanish edition" attached to the title gives the impression this a translation from an English-language book when it is a compilation of parts from various books translated to Spanish. Published April 2019.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US

Anne Lister The Life, Loves & Times of Gentleman Jack

Pauline Hodgkinson


This book seems to heavily reproduce work found in Catherine Euler's 1995 thesis, and David Glover, Helena Whitbread and Jill Liddington's works ipsis litteris and without direct attribution. Since the book offers no details about how research was conducted, it is unclear how the author came to produce this body of work.

The book was independently published on 19 May 2020.

Digital: Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon UK


In addition to the above references, some works of fiction stand out as enjoyable reads for anyone into Anne Lister's life:

The Moss House: A Novel

by Clara Barley

This romanticized account of Anne Lister and Anne Walker revolves around the chaumière and is grounded on a lot of historical information about their relationship, albeit fictionalized.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Gentleman Jack Shooting Scripts

by Sally Wainwright

The shooting scripts for the first 8 episodes of the Gentleman Jack TV show are a great read-along and include scenes not included in the final broadcast version.

Digital: BBC Writers Room

Such Sweet Possession: The Life and Loves of Anne Lister

by Mary Cooper

This radio play (originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4) is a fun dramatization of Anne Lister's early adulthood and the drama unfolding between her, Eliza Raine, Mariana (Belcombe) Lawton and Isabella Norcliffe (Tib).

Digital (Audiobook): Amazon US · Amazon UK · Google Play

The Mistress of Langdale Hall: A Romance of The West Riding

by Rosa Mackenzie Kettle

This novel from 1872 is said to have been modeled after Anne Lister and Shibden Hall. The author visited Shibden and was acquainted with John Lister.

No digital edition | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Other Anne Lister mentions

Anne Lister is also discussed in chapters or passages in the following publications:

Stories of Independent Women from 17th-20th Century: Genteel Women Who Did Not Marry. Charlotte Furness, 2020, Pen and Sword History. See chapter "Anne Lister of Shibden Hall 1791-1840".

After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century: Literature, Law and Society. Jenny DiPlacidi and Karl Leydecker (editors), 2018, Palgrave Macmillan. See chapter "Marriage and its Queer Identifications in the Anne Lister Diaries", pp. 181-203.

Changing the Victorian Subject. Maggie Tonkin, Mandy Treagus, Madeleine Seys and Sharon Crozier-De Rosa (editors), 2014, University of Adelaide Press. See chapter "Miss Wade's Torment: the Perverse Construction of Same-Sex Desire in Little Dorrit", pp. 217-240 .

The Friend. Alan Bray, 2006, University of Chicago Press. See chapter: "Friendship and Modernity", pp. 205-288.

Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928. Martha Vicinus, 2004, University of Chicago Press. See chapter: " 'A Scheme of Romantic Friendship': Love and Same-Sex Marriage", pp.18-28.

Queering Paradigms IV: South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms. Dr Bex Harper, 2014, Peter Lang. See chapter "British Heritage Television: Reconstructing Queer Desire in Daphne (2007) and The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)", pp. 117-137.

Romantic Sociability: Social Networks and Literary Culture in Britain, 1770-1840. Gillian Russell and Clara Tuite (editors), 2006, Cambridge University Press. See chapter "The Byronic Woman: Anne Lister's Style, Sociability and Sexuality", pp. 186-210.

Shibden Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire. Angela Clare, 2019, Calderdale Museums, See sections: "Anne Lister (1791 - 1840)", "Anne Lister's changes to Shibden Hall", and "Anne Lister's changes to Shibden Estate", pp. 14-19

Special thanks to Marlene Oliveira and Steph Gallaway for helping source alternative covers across different editions, Succotash Lindsey and Jiang for additional references and Lynn Shouls for Muriel M. Green's book review .