Friday, August 9, 2013

A Room of My Own: Between the Spoken and Unspoken

A Tanka Set for Anne Lister's Spiritual Daughters

they cursed and burned
Anne Lister and Ann Walker
in effigy
XXX on her copy
of The Well of Loneliness

a thin layer of dust
on her bookshelf
The Diaries of Anne Lister
leans against Emma
in the pale moonlight

Note: Anne Lister (1791–1840) was a well-off Yorkshire landowner, diarist, mountaineer and traveller. Throughout her life she kept diaries which chronicled the details of her daily life, including her lesbian relationships, her financial concerns, her industrial activities and her work improving Shibden Hall. Her diaries contain more than 4,000,000 words and about a sixth of them—those concerning the intimate details of her romantic and sexual relationships—some parts in her diaries were written in code. The code, derived from a combination of algebra and Ancient Greek, was deciphered in the 1930s. Lister is often called "the first modern lesbian" for her clear self-knowledge and openly lesbian lifestyle…. -- excerpted from the Wikipedia entry, Anne Lister

The Well of Loneliness is a 1928 lesbian novel by the British author Radclyffe Hall. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose "sexual inversion" (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age.... Publicity over The Well's legal battles increased the visibility of lesbians in British and American culture. For decades it was the best-known lesbian novel in English, and often the first source of information about lesbianism that young people could find. ...Although few critics rate The Well highly as a work of literature, its treatment of sexuality and gender continues to inspire study and debate…-- excerpted from the Wikipedia entry, The Well of Loneliness

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance…  As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England… Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich… --excerpted from from the Wikipedia entry, Emma

1 comment:

  1. 2010 British television biographical drama, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (especially the documentary on its DVD version), can offer you a glimpse into Anne Lister's world, sociocultural and sexual-psychological.

    Below is excerpted from the Wikipedia entry, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, which can be accessed at

    The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a 2010 British television biographical drama film about the 19th century Yorkshire landowner Anne Lister. It was directed by James Kent and starred Maxine Peake as Lister. The script by Jane English drew from Lister's diaries, written in code, and decoded many years after her death. The story follows Lister's lesbian relationships and her independent lifestyle as an industrialist...