The Misfortune of Intellectuals

Contemporary Chinese Thought 29 (2):86-94 (1997)

Chaucer tells this story: A knight commits a serious crime and the king hands him over to the queen for disposal, whereupon the queen orders him to answer one question: What is a woman's greatest wish? The knight is unable to answer the question then and there, so the queen gives him a time limit. If he cannot answer the question in that time, his head will be chopped off. So the knight journeys far and wide to find the answer. Eventually he finds it and saves his own head. There would be no story if he did not find it. It is said the noblewomen discussed the answer and all found it to be correct. It was: "A woman's greatest wish is to be loved." If that were today, women's rights activists would probably disagree, but in the Middle Ages, this answer would get full approval marks
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DOI 10.2753/CSP1097-1467290286
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