• 9th August 1818

    Mrs Page began talking about my getting married. Told me I had a good figure, good complexion, held myself well & was, she thought, good-tempered. That I should be good-looking if I dressed my hair with bows, as they do now, and with curls, etc. She is a vulgar, good sort of woman, fond of giving her opinions and advice. I took it all well, was amused, led her on & praised her &, I daresay, came off with flying colours.

I Know My Own Heart

Upon publication, the first volume of Anne Lister’s diaries, I Know My Own Heart, met with celebration, delight, and some scepticism. How could an upper class Englishwoman, in the first half of the nineteenth century, fulfil her emotional and sexual needs when her sexual orientation was toward other women? How did an aristocratic lesbian manage to balance sexual fulfilment with social acceptability? Helena Whitbread, the editor of these diaries, here allows us an inside look at the long-running love affair between Anne Lister and Mariana Lawton.

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