Beach at Aberystwyth, where Lady Charlotte's archives are stored at the National Library of Wales
The Wunderkammer of Lady Charlotte Guest examines the life of a truly extraordinary Victorian woman, Lady Charlotte Guest Schreiber. Lady Charlotte learned Welsh in order to provide the first complete tranlsation of the Mabinogion; ran her late husband's iron mill until her eldest son attained his majority; then married a man fourteen years her junior and enjoyed a distinguished career as a collector of porcelain, playing cards, and fans. Although Lady Charlotte's biography is fascinating in its own right, the scholarly emphasis of this book centers on how the impulse to collect informed her translations and her journals, as well as her later catalogues. Using the theories of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Mieke Bol, Susan Miller, and Susan Pierce, this book examines how collection allowed Lady Charlotte to create a series of private signifying systems that often countered the prevailing Victorian discourse assigned to women.
© - Erica Obey
Photos © - George Baird