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Incestuous horrors

Books | January 2016

The most hated wife in literary history: Lady Byron

Frances Wilson on Lady Byron and her Daughters by Julia Markus

Lady Byron and her daughters? There was Ada Lovelace, of course, ‘sole daughter’ as Byron lamented, ‘of my house and heart’, who grew up to befriend Charles Babbage and become a pioneer of the computer. But who was the other one? Many years after the death of her husband, Lady Byron ‘adopted’, as she put it, the now adult Medora, believed to have been the product of Byron’s affair with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and a figure whose misfortunes beggar belief. Raped at fifteen by her brother-in-law (who was also her mother’s lover), Medora raised her own daughter in poverty and ended her days aged 35, working in France as a servant.


This story was from January 2016 issue. Subscribe Now