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Guest, Lady Charlotte

The Oxford Companion to the English Language
Tom McArthurTom McArthur, Jacqueline Lam-McArthurJacqueline Lam-McArthur, Lise FontaineLise Fontaine

Guest, Lady Charlotte (1812–95). 

A self-taught English linguist, she was an expert in eight languages, including Welsh, which she learned after moving to Wales with her husband, the ironmaster John Josiah Guest. She was known for her dedication to education and did a lot of work with schools in the area of Merthyr Tydfil. In addition to translating several mediaeval songs and poems from Welsh to English, she produced an early translation of the mabinogion, a collection of stories which constitutes the earliest prose stories of the literature of Britain. Her translation, first published in 1838, became very influential and was the standard for many years. Lady Guest is notable, especially for her time, as an impressive scholar and translator, as well as for having taken an active role in her family’s ironworks business and giving birth to and raising 10 children.