I outlined my passion for women’s education in my last post. Why did society not only overlook but actively oppose women’s education?
For one thing, it was not uncommon for parents to fear that an excess of education ruined a girl’s chances of a good marriage. The church fretted about the decline of the family if women didn’t keep to their place. There were even some (hopefully few) medical people who believed that over exercising her mind my divert too much blood to their brains would take vigor from other more vital organs, i.e. their reproductive parts.
That is all nonsense of course. In Dangerous Works, however, Georgiana discovers a number of traps and dangers when she hires a tutor to help her translate poems by women from classical Greece. There’s more than one kind of knowledge or one kind of passion. One suspects she experienced some of the things parents worried about.
Excerpt From Dangerous Works
She attempted to make her work, as always, her sturdy bulwark against the blows of life. This time, the work only added to her emotional vortex. She read the epigrams with new eyes, and what she found there disturbed her. “Erotos” she knew meant love, certainly, and romantic love at that. How should I translate this line? she wondered.
“‘Nothing is sweeter than love.’”
“‘Nothing is sweeter than Eros.’” In English the meaning tilted slightly with the change of wording. The next phrase appeared to be about delight or pleasure.
“Definitely Eros,” she said to the empty room. Whatever it is, Nossis prefers it to honey. Yesterday, Georgiana wouldn’t have understood. Love has a taste; she knew that now. She recalled the feel of Andrew’s mouth on hers, and the taste when he opened and let her explore. The taste was sweeter than honey, indeed. She felt warmth rise again deep within her. Heat colored her neck and pooled deep in her belly.
The words of Nossis hadn’t changed since yesterday, but Georgiana had. Andrew had kissed her when she was a girl, sweet innocent kisses, not like he had kissed her the day before. The raw pleasure of it opened her eyes to Nossis. She understood nuance and meaning she didn’t see before. What other secrets do they hold? With these distractions, how will I ever finish the translations?
A little Greek is one thing; the art of love is another. Only one man ever tried to teach Lady Georgiana Hayden both. Wealthy, titled, but crushingly lonely, she craves knowledge for the only thing she values more than her independence, work that gives voice to the neglected women poets of ancient Greece–especially their love poems. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach Georgiana what she needs to translate poems rich with layers of meaning and full of sensual traps, she will risk it. If the man in question chooses not to help her, she will use any means at her disposal to change his mind.
Major Andrew Holden returns to Cambridge a battle scarred hero. Some scars cut deeper than others. He loved Georgiana once and suffered swift retribution from her powerful family that would not tolerate a commoner who dared court their daughter. They cost him eleven years of his life. Determined to avoid the Haydens, he seeks the kind of work that will heal his soul and make his scholar father proud. Georgiana can offer him work, but he knows tutoring an amateur will cost him the respect of Cambridge’s prigs and clerics. Can he protect himself from a woman who almost destroyed him? Does he want to?
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