Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I shared excitement about the royal wedding. Gaele reviewed Summer at the Castle Café — it looks like a great light vacation book. Sim had lots of film and TV information to share with us: a review of the book The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald in advance of the US movie release in August, reflections on the first episode of Patrick Melrose with Benedict Cumberbatch, and a look at Disobedience. Becky enjoyed the Anthony Trollope novel, The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson. Jean re-read a classic book for young people, Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge. Tina read the book #4 in the Frieda Klein mystery series, Thursday’s Child.
Miss Anne Lister was a real person, a woman who inherited Shibden Hall and the surrounding land in Yorkshire. She was 26 the year that Jane Austen died, but her true story had very little in common with Austen novels. Anne Lister was never in search of a husband for the very practical concern that she preferred women.
Anne Lister wrote 4 million words in diaries. According to Wikipedia, about a sixth of those words were written in code. Those are the portions that are about her romantic and sexual relationships with women. The code was broken by a descendant, but he continued to keep the secret. In the late 1980s, the diaries were decoded for a second time and finally made public. The diaries of Miss Anne Lister are now considered an important early body of work in the history of gender and sexuality.
I was pleased that the film version of The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister didn’t just talk about the romantic and racy parts of Anne Lister’s life. Many of her diary entries are about the weather, social and national events, and her business endeavors. From the show, we definitely get a good impression of Miss Lister as an early and accomplished business woman. Less clear is that she was also a celebrated outdoors woman. She was the first women to climb Monte Perdido, the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.
Some scenes were filmed on location at Shibden Hall and in the Yorkshire landscape.
Have you seen The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister? What did you think?