Alice Venturi

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Twurp's Peerage notes that she was born in 1799 and died in 1864. Her interests are listed as embroidery, ethnography, corsetry, anthropology, writing and public speaking.

She gained access to the family fortunes late in life, which allowed her to travel in what she coyly referred to as the "Dark Hinterland" of Klatch and Howondaland.

In pursuit of the ethnography and anthropology, she travelled widely among the sort of peoples who people in Ankh-Morpork would consider to be backward and primitive, meticulously collecting details of their quaint and folklorique ethnic pathways.

The extensive records she brought back were used to illuminate her public speaking engagements, which were inevitably sellouts.

Part of the reason why her talks were sellouts with standing room only may be gleaned from the titles of her books: The Harem Frescoes of Old Klatch, Interesting Customs Among the N'Kouf, and Travels in the Dark Hinterland.

The few existing copies of The Harem Frescoes of Old Klatch, Interesting Customs Among the N'Kouf which did not spontaneously combust on printing, are now sought after among the more discerning collector. Her collection of tribal fetishes and ceremonial objects is locked up in a secure vault: a typical example is labelled Personal Ornament of T'etse Males Over The Age of Thirteen .

There is a suspicion that as the tribes got to know her, some of the more inventive and ingenious traditional ceremonies were devised especially for her, amidst much amusement...

The conclusion of this story is perhaps that activities which would summon the Watch if they happened on your doorstep become intriguing ethnic folkways if performed two thousand miles away with a feather threaded through them. She can be seen to have a lot in common with Twoflower and might predate him as the Disc's first tourist. Except of course that so well-bred a lady wouldn't dream of being anything so common as a tourist. She was a serious scholar, so there!

Her gravestone in the cemetery of Small Gods is decorated with reproductions of Klatchian temple carvings, and may be viewed by prior appointment by parties which strictly exclude unmarried women under the age of thirty.

Character Annotations

She may be modeled on Margaret Mead who studied the habits of adolescents in the South Pacific. As with Lady Alice, it has been suggested that Mead may have been hoaxed by some of her research subjects.

One of the kinds of things Lady Alice was interested in was ritual circumcision. If you want to know why this was such a colourful subject for study, check out the real-world accounts of the customs of the Dowayo of Cameroon by Nigel Barley. Here, truly, are a people who make Jews and Muslims look like wussies when it comes to doing horrible things to their young men's willies.

As well, she shares some similarity with Alice Roosevelt, daughter of the American President Theodore Roosevelt. They have the same first names, both are from aristocratic background and spent much of their time travelling around the world.