I began my attempt at reading and transcribing Anne Lister’s original diaries on 23 June 2019. It was strangely exciting! I started work on Anne’s diary entry for 20 August 1823 because it is in that entry that she quotes Roussaeu, saying (in translation): ‘I know my own heart and understand my fellow man. But I am made unlike anyone I have ever met. I dare to say I am like no one in the whole world.’
This quotation, for me, sums up why I love Anne Lister.
It was a little tricky at first decoding Anne’s crypthand, but I was surprised how quickly I got the hang of it and started recognising crypthand letters without consulting the key. In fact, I soon found that it was harder to read Anne’s plainhand than it was her crypthand.
As Anne’s words emerged I was super-excited and felt like I was really connecting with this amazing individual.
Here is are my notes from my very first attempt: