I’ve been trying to wean myself off the nefarious Amazon, and it’s going pretty well. They do remain an excellent source for books that my local bookstores are just never going to have.
Like an unabridged copy of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. I’ve only ever seen excerpts, but the whole thing is definitely worth a read. Byron goes for long stretches apparently forgetting what this poem is even about, just riffing on everything that crosses mind. And since he famously hated editing his work, it’s all still there.
Some of it’s a bit of a slog. But more is just so beautifully written.
Towards the middle he starts talking about his estranged daughter. And coincidentally now, Ada Lovelace day is apparently coming right up! Fun fact, on Ada’s birth registry, her father’s occupation was listed as just “Lord Byron.”
As an estranged daughter myself, this whole middle section of the poem got to me, though I sincerely doubt anybody’s entertaining such tender thoughts about me. My own daughter asked about my parents recently, and it was with difficulty that I kept it to a neutral, “Well, I guess we just never got along well, so now we don’t talk much anymore.” When I really wanted to say, “It’s been eight years and they’ve never so much as sent you a birthday card, take a hint.”
Ah well. Looks like there’s a new biography of Ada out, I’ll have to get that. She took the best parts of each of her parents and anticipated a new field, poetry in mathematics: computer programming.