In Byron's Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron's Wife and Daughter: Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace

In Byron's Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron's Wife and Daughter: Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace

by Miranda Seymour

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Overview

A masterful portrait of two remarkable women, revealing how two turbulent lives were always haunted by the dangerously enchanting, quicksilver spirit of that extraordinary father whom Ada never knew: Lord Byron.

In 1815, the clever, courted, and cherished Annabella Milbanke married the notorious and brilliant Lord Byron. Just one year later, she fled, taking with her their baby daughter, the future Ada Lovelace. Byron himself escaped into exile and died as a revolutionary hero in 1824, aged 36.The one thing he had asked his wife to do was to make sure that their daughter never became a poet.

Ada didn’t. Brought up by a mother who became one of the most progressive reformers of Victorian England, Byron’s little girl was introduced to mathematics as a means of calming her wild spirits. Educated by some of the most learned minds in England, she combined that scholarly discipline with a rebellious heart and a visionary imagination. As a child invalid, Ada dreamed of building a steam-driven flying horse. As an exuberant and boldly unconventional young woman, she amplified her explanations of Charles Babbage’s unbuilt calculating engine to predict—as nobody would do for another century—the dawn of the modern computer age. When Ada died—like her father, she was only 36—great things seemed still to lie ahead for her as a passionate astronomer. Even while mired in debt from gambling and crippled by cancer, she was frenetically employing Faraday’s experiments with light refraction to explore the analysis of distant stars.

Drawing on fascinating new material, Seymour reveals the ways in which Byron, long after his death, continued to shape the lives and reputations both of his wife and his daughter. During her life, Lady Byron was praised as a paragon of virtue; within ten years of her death, she was vilified as a disgrace to her sex. Well over a hundred years later, Annabella Milbanke is still perceived as a prudish wife and cruelly controlling mother. But her hidden devotion to Byron and her tender ambitions for his mercurial, brilliant daughter reveal a deeply complex but unexpectedly sympathetic personality.

Miranda Seymour has written a masterful portrait of two remarkable women, revealing how two turbulent lives were often governed and always haunted by the dangerously enchanting, quicksilver spirit of that extraordinary father whom Ada never knew.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681778723
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 313,698
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Miranda Seymour’sprevious books includeThrumpton Hall, A Memoir of Life in My Father’s House(NYTBR Editor’s Choice, winner of the 2008 PEN/Ackerley Award);Mary Shelley(Grove),Robert Graves: Life on the Edge(Holt);Ottoline Morrell: Life on a Grand Scale(FSG). She lives in England.

Table of Contents

The Noels, Milbankes, Byrons and Kings x

Part 1 Annabella

1 Anticipation (1761-92) 3

2 A Very Fine Child (1792-1810) 6

3 The Siege of Annabella (1810-12) 17

4 Entering the Lists (1812-13) 29

5 An Epistolary Courtship (1813-14) 46

6 A Sojourn in Hell (January to March 1815) 67

7 Unlucky for Some: 13 Piccadilly Terrace (1815-16) 81

8 The Separation (1816) 107

9 In the Public Eye (1816-24) 125

Part 2 Ada

10 In Search of a Father 141

11 A Rainbow's Arc (1829-35) 162

12 Mathematical Friendships (1834-5) 183

13 Ada's Marriage (1835-40) 198

14 An Unconventional Wife (1836-40) 206

15 Ambitions and Delusions (1840-1) 222

16 A Cuckoo in the Nest (1841-3) 239

17 My Fair Interpretress (1843-4) 259

Part 3 Visions

18 The Enchantress (1843-4) 283

19 The Lady from Porlock (1844-9) 302

20 Vanity Fair (1847-50) 323

21 The Hand of the Past (1850-1) 346

22 Rainbow's End (1851-2) 373

23 Life after Ada (1852-3) 397

Part 4 The Making and Breaking of a Reputation

24 Enshrinement (1853-60) 415

25 Outcast 438

Timeline of Events 469

Note on Ada's Health 475

Acknowledgements 477

Select Bibliography 479

Notes 485

Picture Credits 523

Index 525

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