By Dorothy Stein
During this engrossing biography, Dorothy Stein strips away the various layers of fable to bare a narrative way more dramatic and interesting than prior bills have indicated.
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Extra info for Ada: A Life and a Legacy
Motherhood succeeded wifehood as the name of her propensity for self-justification, only to be replaced by grandmotherhood. Soon after the proceedings for separation were underway, Annabella become restless and dissatisfied with permitting her parents to act in her name in dealing with solicitors and well-wishers in London. As serting that "the Child is weaned necessarily & without difficulty," she returned to town to take matters into her own hands. There she stayed until the bitter end, lingering until Byron was safely out of the country, but not without becoming concerned that her action might inspire adverse comment, which she took prudent steps to prevent.
Among the faculties were included such "feelings and propensities" as "combativeness," "constructive ness," "destructiveness," and "acquisitiveness. " Still another broad class were the "knowing faculties, " including "individuality. " "form," "size, " "weight, " and "color. " Finally there were "reflective faculties," such as "comparison," "wit, " "causality, " and "imitation. " Only the less noble and desirable of the faculties were shared with the lower animals. The organs corresponding to these faculties in particular individuals could be large or small, giving rise to greater or smaller corresponding dispositions.
When she became spoiled and demanding as a result of the amused attention she received, Byron placed her in a convent. Given the precarious political situation and the medically insalubrious climate in which Byron lived, there was some practical reason to shelter a young child in such a place. Once she was installed, however, he never visited her, though Shelley did. He even resented the child's demands for visits, sweets, and gifts, which he condemned as cupboard love. But when Allegra died in the convent, aged only a litde over five years, Byron grieved extravagandy.