As Good as a Marriage

The Anne Lister Diaries 1836-38

By Jill Liddington

As Good as a Marriage
Hardcover +
  • Price: £18.99
  • ISBN: 9781526157355
  • Publish Date: Mar 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £18.99
  • ISBN: 9781526176417
  • Publish Date: Jul 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £18.99
  • ISBN: 9781526157348
  • Publish Date: Mar 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5734-8
    • Published Date: March 2023


    The BBC and HBO series Gentleman Jack brought Anne Lister to international attention, awakening tremendous interest in her diaries, which run to nearly five million words and are partly written in her secret code. They record in intimate detail Anne's intellectual energy and her challenges to so many of society's expectations of women at the time.

    In As Good as a Marriage, the sequel to Female Fortune, Jill Liddington's edited transcriptions of the diaries show us Anne from 1836-38. She guides the reader through life at Shibden Hall after Anne's unconventional 'marriage' to wealthy local heiress Ann Walker. The book explores the daily lives of these two women, from convivial evenings together to her ruthless pursuit of her own business and landowning ambitions.

    Yet the diaries' coded passages also record tensions and quarrels, with Ann Walker often in tears. Was their relationship really as fragile as Anne's coded writing suggests? This question is at the heart of As Good as a Marriage.


    'This meticulous study of a key two-year period in the marriage of Anne Lister and Ann Walker is a must-read for scholars and fans alike. Liddington highlights key passages of the diaries and letters while providing invaluable context and commentary.'
    Jen Manion, author of Female Husbands

    'Jill Liddington delivers a thorough analysis of the critical years following Anne Lister and Ann Walker's union. Utilizing her own transcription of Lister's famously challenging "crypthand", Liddington brings us into the room as the couple struggles against challenges from within and without. Whether you're a fan of the BBC's Gentleman Jack or an Anne Lister scholar, this book is not to be missed.'
    Pat Esgate, organiser of the Anne Lister Birthday Weekend

    'As Good as a Marriage continues the amazing Anne Lister/Gentleman Jack story. Jill Liddington's excellent introduction and careful editing of letters and diaries for the mid-1830s gives access to the personal, business and political life of this powerful lesbian couple.'
    Catherine Hall, co-author of Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850


    I. Living married life at Shibden: May-August 1836
    II. The last of the generation: September-October 1836
    III. Mariana visits Shibden: November-December 1836
    IV: maintaining the upper hand: January-May 1837
    V: Getting Stuart Wortleys in Parliament: June-December 1837
    VI: How to get off ~ & to where? January-May 1838


    Jill Liddington is the author of Female Fortune: The Anne Lister Diaries 1833-36 (2022), and Vanishing for the Vote: Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the Census (2014). She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds.

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