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About the Author: Charlotte Elizabeth Guest

Charlotte Guest (nee Bertie) was the daughter of Albemarle Bertie, 9th Earl of Lindsey and his second wife Charlotte Susanna Elizabeth Layard. She married John Josiah Guest, a significantly-older Welsh industrialist and politician and moved to Merthyr Tydfil. The couple had 10 children.

Later Lady Charlotte Schreiber, was an English businesswoman and translator. An important figure in the study of Welsh literature and the Welsh language, she is best known for her pioneering English translation of the major medieval work, the Mabinogion.

Guest studied a number of languages during her education, and began her work as a translator by translating documents into French for her husband's company. As she became increasingly comfortable with French translation, Guest expanded her work into Welsh literary and mythological works.

As her husband's health failed, Charlotte Guest took on more and more responcibility for their company, taking full control upon his death in 1852. In 1855, she married scholar and politician Charles Schreiber and handed control of her company to G.T. Clark.

Clark and Guest travelled extensively in Europe, amassing collections of ceramics, fans, games, and cards which she later bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert and British Museums.

Guest's best-known translations include The Mabinogion and a number of medieval Welsh poems. Alfred Lord Tennyson used Guest's translation of Geraint and Enid as the basis for his "Idylls of the King."


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Paperback, by Classic Books Library

ISBN10: 1600967981 | ISBN13: 9781600967986

The Mabinogion (Welsh pronunciation: mabɪˈnɔɡjɔn) is a collection of 11 prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The tales draw on pre-Xian Celtic mythology, internat'l folktale motifs & early medieval historical traditions. While some details may hark back to older Iron Age traditions, each of the tales is the product of a developed medieval Welsh narrative tradition, both oral & written. Lady Charlotte Guest in the mid 19th century was the 1st to publish English translations of the collection, popularising the name "Mabinogion". The stories appear in either or both of two medieval Welsh manuscripts, the White Book of Rhydderch or Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, written c1350, & the Red Book of Hergest or Llyfr Coch Hergest, written c1382–1410, tho texts or fragments of some of the tales have been preserved in earlier 13th century & later mss. Scholars agree that the tales are older than the existing mss, but disagree over just how much older. The different texts originated at different times. Debate has focused on the dating of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi. Sir Ifor Williams offered a date prior to 1100, based on linguistic & historical arguments, while later Saunders Lewis set forth a number of arguments for a date between 1170 & 1190; Th Charles-Edwards, in a paper published in 1970, discussed both viewpoints, & while critical of the arguments of both scholars, noted that the language of the stories fits the 11th century. More recently, Patrick Sims-Williams argued for a plausible range of about 1060 to 1200, the current scholarly consensus.

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