NABOKV-L post 0021156, Fri, 7 Jan 2011 19:03:10 -0200

Subject
Ada's Memoirs
Date
Body
Arnie Perlstein writes, a propos Ada and computers: "In 2003, Carolyn Kunin wrote the following regarding an allusion by Nabokov to the famous historical Ada, Countess of Lovelace: "Ada was transformed into a sort of graceful computing machine, endowed,moreover, with phenomenal luck, and would greatly surpass baffled Van in acumen, foresight and exploitation of chance..." Ada Lovelace made her enduring reputation by her ability to program and understand Babbage's two computing machines, the "Analytical Engine" and the "Difference Engine." ...I still do not know how or in what context Nabokov would have known of Ada Lovelace. The Encylopedia Britannica (1960) says nothing of her mathematical achievements and the recognition of her achievements was not generally known until 1980. Possibly a biography of Byron may have discussed this, or perhaps Nabokov's 1960ish knowledge of mathematics was more sophisticated than has been supposed?"

JM: A belated return to Carolyn's 2003 question: Ada's her original Memoir can be found in "Scientific Memoirs, Selections from The Transactions of Foreign Academies and Learned Societies and from Foreign Journals," edited by Richard Taylor, F.S.A.,Vol III London: 1843 [... ] and Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve, No. 82 October 1842.*

btw: Arnie Perlstein, why do you think it is necessary to see Nabokov as a "passionate Janeite" (for he disliked the idea of literary schools and labels) before we can find a balanced view into some of his "chinese-in-a-box" allusions to her in his novels? Your information about "hidden clues" in Jane Austen is quite fascinating.



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*( I reached these items thanks to More on Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace ( emerson.typepad.com/emerson/gdel-escher-bach.html -)
"A Selection and Adaptation From Ada's Notes found in "Ada, The Enchantress of Numbers," by Betty Alexandra Toole Ed.D. (Strawberry Press, Mill Valley, CA)"
All quotations and page numbers refer to the original Memoir which was printed in Scientific Memoirs, Selections from The Transactions of Foreign Academies and Learned Societies and from Foreign Journals, edited by Richard Taylor, F.S.A.,Vol III London: 1843, Article XXIX. Sketch of the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage Esq. By L. F. Menabrea, of Turin, Officer of the Military Engineers. [From the Bibliothque Universelle de Gnve, No. 82 October 1842].
Cf. A sample, from Ada's note A, p. 696 "The distinctive characteristic of the Analytical Engine, and that which has rendered it possible to endow mechanism with such extensive faculties as bid fair to make this engine the executive right-hand of abstract algebra, is the introduction into it of the principle which Jacquard devised for regulating, by means of punched cards, the most complicated patterns in the fabrication of brocaded stuffs. It is in this that the distinction between the two engines lies. Nothing of the sort exists in the Difference Engine. We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves."
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