My wife is uncultured—can I improve her? (1938)

19744241506Another ‘solution’ to ‘real life problems’ from the pen of the redoubtable ( and mysterious) R.Edynbry, who doesn’t seem to have published any book other than this little volume (Real Life Problems and Their Solution) of 1938 from Odhams Press, London.

I realized when I married that my girl had few brilliant mental attainments. She had no interest in literature, nor had she even a parrot-knowledge of the names of writers or the classic books of the past. She is a product f the film era, and I have come to the realization that I have married one who comes within the category of the lightheaded. She cannot be serious for more than one minute at a time, and I get no intelligent response to my suggestions. Do you think that, with careful handling, I could introduce her into the ways of thought; to good literature; to an appreciation of the best things of life—-wean her, so to speak, from the dross? The thought that I might be ashamed of her one day appals me. What do you advise ?

‘The best thing for you to do is to concentrate on some of your wife’s good qualities and help her to develop these to the full. It is extremely unlikely you will ever be able to ‘cultivate’ her in the way you wish. There is a very large class of women who take no interest whatever in what men call culture. Even when they do appear to be interested in art, literature or classical music, it is usually to further some scheme at the back of their minds. Or, as has been said by a wit,” When women talk of astronomy, they are thinking of the astronomer “.A love of good books and literature and the fine things of life is inborn and cannot be superimposed like a coat of varnish. A fact that many psychologists have noted is that when a young girl has had her interests centred mainly on the emotions, there is little prospect of intellectual things making any appeal to her.

If your wife is of a gay spirit, has a nice manner with people, is efficient in the house, and is willing to allow you to go your way with your books, you should consider yourself lucky. She may be your opposite in temperament and still prove very necessary to your life as time goes on. It is as a mother she will give proof of her worth. If she excels here, you will not want to exchange her for the most “educated “ woman of your acquaintance, or indeed in the whole world.’  [RR]


One thought on “My wife is uncultured—can I improve her? (1938)

  1. Farrah

    James Joyce’s wife Nora Barnacle was ‘uncultured’ and it didn’t seem to matter to either of them. There are probably other famous examples, also of clever women who married uneducated men…


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