This weeks episode is about a remarkable woman from Victorian Wales called Lady Charlotte Guest and her quest to preserve the folklore and legends of her adopted homeland, which would be published as the Mabinogion, widely regarded today as one of the most important collections of medieval prose literature in Europe. The stories it contains began life as part of an oral storytelling tradition in Britains ancient past, featuring political intrigue, bickering royalty, warring armies, noble warriors, brave princesses, wizards, magical technology, trickster like anti heroes, monsters and many other archetypal characters and settings. Before it’s publication there was no such genre of fantasy fiction and it’s influence on our understanding of Arthurian legend as well as other works by authors such as J.R.R Tolkien, Evangeline Walton, Alan Garner and Robert Holdstock cannot be taken for granted.
My guest is Siân Esther Powell. Siân is studying for Masters in Celtic Studies and is the creator and host of the excellent Celtic Myths and Legends Podcast. We talked about Lady Charlotte and the scale of the project she undertook to locate and preserve the stories that would make up the Mabinogion, explore what these stories can tell us about ancient Britain and the use of stories in that time to engage with the imagination, and of course look at one of the fantastic stories that make up this incredible work.
You can find Siân on Twitter here.