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Metternich emphasises reason; he was basically a child of the Enlightenment,
            although his experiences of the French Revolution made him politically conservative.
            He believed that by defending the legitimacy of traditional rulers, he was defending
            the rational, natural order of things. But Mazzini’s emphasis is on emotion; as a
            nationalist, he derived his idea of legitimacy from the inner life of the individual. This
            made him a revolutionary: he wanted to overthrow the existing European order to
            bring it line with people’s inner nationalist feelings and aspirations. This made
            Metternich and Mazzini bitter political enemies.


            Charles Babbage (1791-1871) and Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
            Charles Babbage is hailed as the inventor of the first computer. Ada Lovelace, nee
            Byron, his friend and collaborator, is celebrated as a history’s first computer
            programmer. Yet at first sight, they seem, like Metternich and Mazzini, to come from
            opposite sides of the Enlightenment/Romanticism divide. Babbage was one of the
            most celebrated men of science and mathematics of his time; Lovelace was the

            daughter of Lord Byron, the archetypal “Romantic hero” (“Byronic” being virtually its
            synonym). Clearly this is going to be a story with some surprising twists.

            Bridge to the unknown
            Further, Charles and Ada’s project, the attempt to create a fully-fledged Victorian
            computer operated by cog-wheels, seems almost beyond belief. It was firmly
            grounded in the realm of Enlightenment reason in its purest, most logical form:
            mathematics. Yet the nature of their enterprise, as Babbage put it, “throwing a

            bridge from the known to the unknown world”, required not so much hypothesis-
            testing by methodical experimentation, more great leaps of faith, insight, imagination
            and daring. Clearly reason and emotion are not the simple binary opposites they
            appear.

            Charles and Ada pursued their uncharted vision with all the obsessiveness and

            creativity of true Romantics. Each made imaginative leaps into the unknown.
            Babbage saw how the punched cards used to operate Jacquard’s looms could weave
            algorithms as well as tapestries, by transferring energy to rotating rods rather than
            individual warp threads, and how the tooth of a rotating cog could represent a
            number. Ava’s imaginative genius was to grasp, better than Charles, the
            programmable potential of his Analytical Engine (had he ever fully built it). Their
            story illustrates how daring and creativity are required as much in scientific progress
            just as much as Romantic works of art, and how blurred is the boundary between the
            supposedly cold reason of the Enlightenment and the emotion and imagination of

            Romanticism. Artists and scientists are maybe not so different.
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