Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

Frankenstein Sundae, 221

Lord Byron's marriage with Annabella fractures ...

And now Annabella (Lady Byron) was alone with her infant daughter, Ada. It was not long before she met Caroline Lamb (Byron’s earlier lover, the author of Glenarvon), who told Annabella about “other crimes” Byron had committed—sexual crimes (as defined in early nineteenth-century England), including the possibility of homosexuality along with incest.[1]
By mid-April, 1816, Bryon had signed a separation agreement with Annabella. Soon, Claire Clarimont would enter the picture (and his bed chamber), and he would be off to Switzerland and Frankenstein and Greece and the Grim Reaper.
Deeply depressed, Annabella turned to philanthropy (among other pursuits), founded the first infant school in England, and threw herself into the education of her daughter, a child who turned out to be a prodigiously talented mathematician. Today, many credit her for pioneering the work that has led to our own digital age.
The rest of Julia Marcus’ very fine book—Lady Byron and Her Daughters—deals with the post-Byron years, years which, though interesting, don’t directly apply to the story of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the story I’m supposed to be pursuing here. Annabella became friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Henry James pops in the story somewhat after her death on May 16, 1860. Marcus has done a wonderful job of restoring Lady Byron’s story (assiduously wiping away the smudges left by other biographers).
But one more thing before we go: Lord Byron’s memoirs. And what a sad tale those are …

[1] Ibid., 100.

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