• 4th October 1820

    During dinner, marrying happening to be mentioned, I declared my determination against it & Mr Duffin understood. “I fear it,” said he, “& more the shame.” “Shame,” said I. “I see no shame in consulting your own happiness” & the subject was soon ended. Both Mr Duffin & Miss Marsh would evidently have had it otherwise But I care not & they must see their efforts are in vain.

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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