A captivating tale of one man’s mission to groom his ideal mate.
Thomas Day, an 18th-century British writer and radical, knew exactly the sort of woman he wanted to marry. Pure and virginal, yet tough and hardy, and completely subervient to his whims. But after being rejected by a number of spirited young women, Day concluded that the perfect partner he envisioned simply did not exist in frivolous, fashion-obsessed Georgian society. Rather than conceding defeat and giving up on his search for the woman of his dreams, however, Day set out to create her.
So begins the extraordinary true story at the heart of How to Create the Perfect Wife. A few days after he turned twenty-one and inherited a large fortune, Day adopted two young orphans from the Founding Hospital and, guided by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the principles of the Enlightenment, attempted to teach them to be model wives.
Day’s peculiar experiment inevitably backfired — though not before he had taken his theories about marriage, education, and femininity to shocking extremes.
Stranger than fiction, blending tragedy and farce, How to Create the Perfect Wife is an engrossing tale of the radicalism — and deep contradictions — at the heart of the enlightenment.