[SIGCIS-Members] Source identified - Fwd: Charles Babbage, Novelist

Marc Weber marc at webhistory.org
Tue Aug 5 17:05:18 PDT 2014

From Tim Robinson's reply to Doron Swade:
> Given your hint, I was able to track it down.  It's in Passages, but not in the section on the Analytical Engine.  Instead it's in the chapter "Recollections of Wollaston, Davy, and Rogers", p 194 in the original.
> He is referring to conversations with Rogers.  He says, "I put into his hands a parcel of proof-sheets of a work I was then writing, thinking they might amuse him during his drive, and that I might profit from is criticism.  Some years before, I had consulted him about a novel I had proposed to write solely for the purpose of making money to assist me in completing the Analytical Engine.  I breakfasted with the poet, who entered fully into the subject. I proposed to give up a twelvemonth to writing the novel, but I determined not to commence it unless I saw pretty clearly that I could make about £5000 by the sacrifice of my time.  The novel was to have been in three volumes, and there would probably have been reprints of another work in two volumes.   Both of these works would have had graphic illustrations.  The poet gave me much information on all the subjects connected with the plan, and amongst other     things, observed that when he published his beautifully illustrated work on Italy, that he had paid £9000 out of his own pocket before he received any return for that work."
> Regards
> Tim
> On 8/5/14, 1:31 PM, doron.swade wrote:
>> Dear Marc
>> The source is 'Passages from the Life of a Philosopher', Babbage's autobiographical excursion. I am away from my sources in London at this time so can't check the page number but it is, as I recall, in the chapter on the Analytical Engine about where CB writes about tic-tac-toe arcade machines as another reference to funding the construction of the Analytical Engine. The references CB makes to novel writing appear in the nature of a passing musing rather than conscientious intention - but who knows. The intention may have been real and the reference only, casual.
>> Best wishes
>> Doron

Marc Weber  |   marc at webhistory.org  |   +1 415 282 6868 
Internet History Program Founder and Curator, Computer History Museum            
1401 N Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View CA 94043 computerhistory.org/nethistory
Co-founder, Web History Center and Project, webhistory.org 

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