Every book written about Anne Lister

Lívia Labate, Marlene Oliveira, Steph GallawayPublished on 28 December 2019, last updated on 20 February, 2023

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.

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.

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

by Helena Whitbread

⭐️  Full of journal excerpts, this book covers Anne Lister’s life from 1816-1824.

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

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 · Pennine Pens US/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 

Female Fortune: Land, Gender and Authority

by Jill Liddington 

The new edition is now available!

⭐️ 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, with a new edition to be released in March 2022. 

Digital: Manchester University Press  | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK · Manchester University Press

As Good as a Marriage: The Anne Lister Diaries 1836-38

by Jill Liddington 

Out now!

Considered a sequel to Female Fortune, this book continues to use Anne Lister's journal to explore daily life at Shibden Hall with Anne Lister and Ann Walker up to 1838.

Digital: Manchester University Press ·  Amazon US · Amazon UK | Paperback: Amazon US · Amazon UK · Manchester University Press

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 union with 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 (though not available online).

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

Decoding Anne Lister: From the Archive to Gentleman Jack

Edited by Chris Roulston & Caroline Gonda

This is the first edited collection of essays on the nineteenth-century diarist Anne Lister. The essays here address the variety and interdisciplinarity of the diaries: Lister's negotiations with her own 'odd' identity, her multiple same-sex relationships, her involvement in politics and her lifelong thirst for knowledge. It also addresses Lister studies in popular culture through the successful Gentleman Jack BBC-HBO series, including an interview with Sally Wainwright and foreword by author Emma Donoghue. 

Authors include: Caroline Gonda, Laurie Shannon, Anna Clark, Stephen Turton, Caroline Baylis-Green, Susan S. Lanser, Cassandra Ulph, Angela Clare, Kirsty McHugh, Angela Steidele, Chris Roulston.

Hardback: 287 pages | Digital Access Available | Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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 Words and Footsteps of Anne Lister

by Northowram Historical Society

⭐️ This book offers a concise introduction to Anne Lister's links to Northowram.

The book offers a clear and concise introduction to Anne Lister's links to the Northowram township. It features several journal transcripts, as well as stunning reproductions of archival material such as maps, journal pages, and old photos. The booklet also includes two suggestions for walks around Shibden Hall and Lightcliffe. 

Paperback: Northowram Historical Society (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

In the Footsteps of Anne Lister (Volume 2): Travels of an intrepid English gentlewoman in 1820s Europe

Adeline Lim

⭐️  This book contains never before published excerpts of Anne Lister’s journals and letters from 1826, 1827 and 1829, maps of Anne’s travels and appendices listing all the villages and cities Anne travelled through or visited in Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Adeline Lim has spent two years chasing Anne Lister across the European continent. Criss-crossing from Ghent to Cologne, Strasbourg to Milan, Venice to Lausanne, Dinant to Lucerne, Adeline has pitted herself tirelessly against all Anne experienced. Medieval cities, tremendous mountains, verdant landscapes, cobalt blue lakes, savage gorges, the Rhine, the Rhône, Adeline has seen them all.

The result is a dazzling account of Anne Lister’s travels through Belgium and Germany’s Rhine in 1829 and is the ultimate guide to her tour of Italy and Switzerland in 1827.

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

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· Editions Cairn (only format available) 

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

by Patricia Hughes

⚠️ Since publication, some of the content in this book has been proved to be erroneous, while other assertions remain unsupported and/or missing citations.

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

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

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

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

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

by SL Smith

⚠️ This book relies heavily on previously published works regarding Anne Lister. By combining facts in what may be a brief introduction, it adds nothing to the canon.

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

Digital: Amazon US (only format available) 

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

Ann Walker: The Life and Death of Gentleman Jack's Wife

by Rebecca Batley

⚠️  This book contains inaccuracies, such as misspelled names and omission of footnotes, as well as the repetition of false material and the inclusion of unfounded speculations that lack accompanying sources.

Published on 2 February 2023 in the UK, and is set for release in the US on 7 May 2023.

Digital: Pen and Sword · Amazon US · Amazon UK | Hardcoverk: Pen and Sword · Amazon US · Amazon UK

Anne Lister, Ann Walker, and me

by Lynn Pharaoh

⚠️  Caution: This author has disseminated transphobic information online.

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

 Self-published; no other publishing notes at this time.

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

Anne Lister The Life, Loves & Times of Gentleman Jack

Pauline Hodgkinson

⛔️ Avoid

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. A revised second edition was published in 2021.

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 Mistress of Langdale Hall: A Romance of The West Riding

by Rosa Mackenzie Kettle 

This novel was published in 1872 and it was modeled after Anne Lister and Shibden Hall - this was confirmed by the author herself in a letter to John Lister, whom she knew well. 

Although the language and style of the novel are dated, it is an enjoyable read, conjuring nicely the West Riding of Yorkshire in the mid-19th century.

No digital edition | Paperback: Amazon US ·  Amazon UK

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

Emma Donoghue: Selected Plays: I Know My Own Heart 

by Emma Donoghue

Inspired by the secret coded diaries of Yorkshire gentlewoman Anne Lister, this play subverts all the conventions of Regency romance. Teasing out the entangled lives of mannish, arrogant Lister (nicknamed 'Gentleman Jack') and three of her many lovers, I Know My Own Heart explores the different choices women made in a time of limits and prohibitions.

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

Gentleman Jack Shooting Scripts

by Sally Wainwright

The shooting scripts for the two series of the Gentleman Jack TV show are a great read-along and include scenes not included in the final broadcast versions.

Digital: BBC Writers Room

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

Miss Lister's Guest House: A lesbian romance

by A. L. Aikman 

A romance novel about a character inspired by Anne Lister to leave California and open a bed and breakfast, set in present day Halifax and Hebden Bridge.

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

Learned By Heart

by Emma Donoghue

The tale of the love story of Eliza Raine and Anne Lister. The novel is inspired by archival correspondence between Eliza and Anne, as well as by Anne's journal.

Digital: Amazon US · Amazon UK

Hardcover: Amazon US · Little, Brown and Company (US) · Harper Collins (Canada) · PanMacmillian (UK)

Other Anne Lister mentions

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

LGBT Victorians: Sexuality and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century Archives. Simon Joyce. 2022. Oxford University Press. See chapters "Introduction", pp. 1-25, and "On or About 1820: Modalities of Lesbian Emergence", pp. 31-70. 

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 .