I thought I’d cruise today and just repost Laura’s summary of last night’s classics reading group, but her summary was so vague she could have written it without actually having been there. The book was selections from Canterbury Tales, specifically the Knight’s Tale, the Miller’s Tale, the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the Scholar’s (Clerk’s) Tale, plus the General Prologue. Probably the most specific part of the discussion was on the Scholar’s Tale, not surprisingly, as it deals with a woman who is extremely subservient to her husband. Some debate ensued over whether these characters were meant to be realistic or if the tale was really more of a parable. Jim pointed out that while this tale has drawn comparisons to the story of Job, at least Job questioned some of the trials that were given to him, allowing the reader to have some empathy, where Griselda does everything demanded of her without question. Some discussion was also given to the Knight’s tale, its juxtaposition of an ancient Greek setting and characters with the trappings of medieval England (knights, jousting, etc.). Although much is made on some of the websites about the Miller’s Tale being the perfect short story, the group was mostly dismissive of it as raunchy nonsense. There was general agreement that the character of the Wife of Bath was more interesting based on her prologue than the tale she told. These particular tales were suggested for their varying depictions of and commentaries on love, so there were some comparisons to be drawn between various combinations. In general, everyone seemed satisfied with the book. I bought the Oxford Classics edition that has all the other tales in it also (translated, no middle english for me). After Boskone I want to go back and finish it.