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The Mabinogion. Gift from Beatrice Cannon

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Lady Charlotte Guest, trans. The Mabinogion. London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1906. One of the Everyman’s Library series (no. 97). Inscribed on a preliminary leaf: “to / Mr. G. Meredith / Xmas 1907 / B. C.” The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven medieval Welsh tales, combining Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance, first translated into English by Guest in the mid-19th century. This volume may have been a Christmas present from Beatrice Cannon (Mary’s closest friend from Mrs. Walmsley’s Finishing School) to Mary Webb’s father, George Meredith. Mary inherited from her father his Celtic temperament, lively sense of humor, and intimate feeling for nature. George Meredith instilled in Mary his fascination with the legends, lore, and superstitions intrinsic to living in the Shropshire countryside. While writing, Webb often consulted The Mabinogion; Webb has annotated pages 13, 95, and 150 in black ink and written a list of related works on the rear free endpaper. This well-thumbed volume was part of Mary’s small library, which was sold to the bookselling firm of Elkin Mathews by Henry Webb after his wife’s death. With the bookplates of Mary Webb and Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr.