London, spring 1769. Like many people, Thomas Day dreamed of meeting the perfect partner. In fact, Day knew exactly the type of woman he wanted to marry. Pure and virginal yet tough and hardy, uncorrupted by society yet fully schooled in the discoveries of the day, she would share his dream of living in rural seclusion, attending to his every whim. As the heir to a sizeable fortune and a student of law at Middle Temple, Day may have seemed something of a catch. However his rather extreme views on female virtue and his disregard for social conventions, not to mention his unorthodox approach to personal hygiene, meant that the ladies of Georgian society did not come flocking. Before long Day came to the conclusion that none of the women he met in elegant drawing rooms would ever live up the vision of the ideal woman he had constructed from his reading of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's scandalous book Emile. So, in true Pygmalion style, he hit on the idea of creating the perfect wife. With this daring plan in mind, he invoked the help of his dazzling circle of friends, including such luminaries as Erasmus Darwin, Richard Lovell Edgeworth and the sharp-tongued Anna Seward. In How to Create the Perfect Wife, acclaimed biographer Wendy Moore tells the story of this bizarre social experiment, illuminating the radicalism - and deep contradictions - that lay at the heart of this most fascinating period.
Wendy Moore is a freelance journalist and author. Her work has been published in numerous national newspapers and magazines and has won several awards. Her first book THE KNIFE MAN won the MEDICAL JOURNALISTS' ASSOCIATION CONSUMER BOOK AWARD in 2005 and was shortlisted for both SALTIRE and the MARCH BIOGRAPHY AWARDS. It is currently being adapted for for television by David Cronenberg. Her second book, WEDLOCK has been highly acclaimed and was chosen for the Channel 4 TV Book Club. She lives in London with her husband and two children. http:wendymoore.org https:twitter.comwendymoore99