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Ada’s father: Lord Byron (1788-1824), Romantic hero
            Ada’s father, Lord Byron (George Gordon, 7  Baron), was not merely the greatest
            English poet but also the most iconic Romantic hero of his age. He was brought up in
            crumbling abbey. He had a disturbed childhood. He was hugely attractive. He was
            disabled (a clubbed foot). He was outrageous, keeping a bear in his room at
            Cambridge. One of his many mistresses, Lady Caroline Lamb, called him “mad, bad
            and dangerous to know.” He wrote epic though ironic poetry and became a literary
            celebrity at 24. The misanthropic, defiant heroes he wrote about seemed modelled
            on his own life. He allegedly had an affair with his half-sister Augusta. He ran up huge

            debts. Forced to sell Newstead Abbey, his ancestral home in Nottinghamshire, he fled
            abroad by pursued by debt and scandal guns for Italian revolutionaries. While helping
            to lead the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, he died
            tragically young of fever, at Missolonghi in 1824. Women wept. Ada was then nine.

            This Byron was the typical Romantic hero, the solitary genius, tortured, at war with
            society and himself. Yet he was not a typical Romantic. Romanticism was less overt as

            a movement in Britain than on the continent. It changed British culture just as
            radically, but as Duncan Heath says, here “it was a quieter revolution.” Byron’s poetry
            is “mock-heroic” and ironic. He disliked the earlier Romantic poets, Wordsworth and
            the Lake poets, preferring older classical poets and writers like Pope, Dryden and
            Goethe. Politically he was more radical than they were; in his maiden speech in the
            House of Lords he defended the Nottinghamshire Luddites, angry weavers who
            attacked factories and damaged machines. As a philosophical free-thinker and
            materialist, he was more a man of the Enlightenment than the Romantics; he didn’t

            share their interest in the emotions or the irrational side of the inner life or in the

            Even so, we need to explain how it was that Ada, the daughter of the most famous
            Romantic poet of the period, got mixed up in the esoteric world of maths and
            pioneer computers. In fact, there was two good reasons why it was never likely that

            Ada would take after her father. Firstly, a month after she was born, her mother left
            Byron taking Ada with her, and they never saw him again. Ada never had any contact
            with him. He kept up an intermittent attempt to stay informed about her. Secondly,
            Ada’s mother, fearing that Ada might still take after her father, was determined to
            prevent this. Her method was to instruct Ada’s tutors to suppress her imagination.

            Ava’s mother, Lady Byron (1792- 1860)

            Ada was brought up entirely by her mother. Her childhood was comfortable, though
            lonely and controlled. Her mother, Lady Byron, was born Anne Isabella (“Annabella”)
            Milbanke in 1792, daughter of a wealthy well-connected and enlightened landowner
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