Childers, Joseph W.  “Alton Locke and the Religion of Chartism,” in Novel Possibilities: Fiction and the Formation of Early Victorian Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995): 132-157.
In his analysis of Alton Locke Childers focuses in particular on the relationship between politics and religion. He argues that the spiritual reform advocated, the "religion of Chartism", alleviates the fear of the middle classes of a revolt based on immorality or infidelity, since the reform is strongly linked to the tenets of religion, of Christianity.  However, the advocacy has little social value as long as it remains the subjective view only of Alton.  For real change to be effected, these views must be embraced by a wider public.

Alton Locke; Religion; Chartism; Social and Political Novel.

Christensen, Torben.  Origin and History of Christian Socialism 1848-1854  (Aarhus, Denmark: Universitetsforlaget, 1962).
In his study of Christian Socialism Christensen makes frequent mention of Kingsley, focusing in particular on his activities in the Chartist movement and as the author of Alton Locke.

Christian Socialism; Chartism; Alton Locke.

Cripps, Elizabeth A. "Introduction," Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet: An Autobiography (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983): vii-xx.
Cripps introduces Alton Locke by considering the context of the troubled Chartist times in which it was both written and set.  She also briefly discusses the novel's publication history, its reception by the critics, and its representation of many of Kingsley's social and political views.  She regrets on literary grounds that Kingsley revised the Cambridge part of the novel.  Praising for the most part the characterization in the novel, Cripps also lauds its graphic depictions.

Alton Locke; Chartism; Social and Political Novel; Social and Political Views; Cambridge University; Characterization in Novels.

Daumas, Phillippe.  “Charles Kingsley's Style in Alton Locke,” Les Langues Modernes Vol. 63 (1969): 169-75.
Daumas argues that due to Kingsley’s conflicting views on Chartism there is a certain mystification in Alton Locke.  Though the novel seems to be an advocacy of Chartism and social reform, the reader when finished understands that it is really an espousal of charity and Christianity.  “Contrary to what one had been led to think, Alton Locke is not a tract in support of socialism, but a vindication of Kingsley’s own conception of Christianity” (169).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Social and Political Views; Religion.

Dottin, Françoise.  “Chartism and Christian Socialism in Alton Locke,” Politics in Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Lille: Centre d'Etudes Victoriennes, U. de Lille, 1974): 31-59.
Dottin discusses Kingsley's social and political views as represented in Alton Locke, especially those relating to Chartism and Christian Socialism, as well as his own practical endeavors in these areas. She concludes that while Kingsley is somewhat difficult to categorize, he is "neither a revolutionary nor a fawning aristocrat", and that he is best described by the two words Christian and socialist (54).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views; Social and Political Novel.

Edwards, David Lawrence.  Leaders of the Church of England, 1828-1944 (London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).
Edwards declares that Kingsley’s courage in writing his manifesto on 10 April, 1848 at the time of the Chartist upheaval has been exaggerated.  Many other preachers and religious journalists sympathized with the social and political sentiments of Kingsley, Maurice, et al.  However, Kingsley was indeed courageous in going further than merely sympathizing with the demands of the workers.  He actually worked alongside them and “it was this that in the 1850s brought on Kingsley, and on Maurice, the wrath of the religious Tories of the Record and the Quarterly Review – and of secularists such as Karl Marx who feared competition from the Christian Socialists’ ‘holy water’” (136).

Social and Political Views; Chartism.

Lodge, David. “Introduction” to Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet, ed. Herbert Van Thal (London: Cassell, 1967): vii-xviii.
In his introduction to Alton Locke, Lodge declares that while Kingsley shows keen sympathy for the workers' conditions of employment and general social plight, he is also critical of their general modes of reacting against established authority. This was in keeping with the tenor of his ideology for, as he aged, Kingsley abandoned his younger radical views and became increasingly an establishment figure. Still, observes Lodge, Kingsley's effort on behalf of the oppressed and deprived working poor, "of which Alton Locke is an eloquent testimony, reflects most credit upon him, and leaves him least vulnerable to the irony of a more sophisticated and more cynical age than his own" 

Alton Locke; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views; Chartism.

Menke, Richard. "Cultural Capital and the Scene of Rioting: Male Working-Class Authorship in Alton Locke," Victorian Literature and Culture Vol. 28, No. 1 (2000): 87-108.
Menke considers “the protean Locke and the story Kingsley tells about him not as figures of pure writing but as representations of the relationship between the ‘condition of England problem’ and the sphere of cultural production. – specifically, between the social problem of class oppression and what John Guillory, after the French sociologist of culture Pierre Bourdieu, has taught us to call ‘cultural capital’”.  Menke argues that Alton Locke is concerned with a very practical feature of cultural capital: “linguistic access to the correct forms of literary language, institutional access to publication or patronage, material access to the time and tools necessary for writing literature, socio-literary access to the appropriate genres and traditions.”  Menke also contends that “the novel’s treatment of Chartist politics impinges upon its construction of male, working-class authorship as a resolvable analogue and displacement of the problems raised by radical politics” (88).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Cooper, Thomas.

Morton, A. L. “Parson Lot,” in his The Matter of Britain: Essays in a Living Culture (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1966): 137-143.
Morton provides a brief account of Kingsley’s life and works, paying particular attention to his endeavors on behalf of the poor as Parson Lot, Christian Socialist.  He praises Kingsley’s genuine commitment to the plight of the down-trodden though he considers Kingsley was a combination of both Radical and Tory.  Believing in the worker and the aristocrat, it was the classes in between for whom Kingsley had a great antipathy.  Morton also lauds the depiction of the worker and of Chartism in Alton Locke.  Though Kingsley finally denounces Chartism, this is the first time that English fiction deals with it seriously and sympathetically.  Though Kingsley never really succeeded in standing apart from his Tory views and though his socialist work invariably failed, he was, according to Morton, “like Ruskin, one of those who helped to prepare the ground from which a genuine socialist movement was to spring a generation or so later” (143).

Overview; Christian Socialism; Chartism.

Muller, Charles H.  “Alton Locke: Kingsley's Dramatic Sermon,” Unisa English Studies Vol. 14, Nos. 2-3 (1976): 9-20.
Though much of Alton Locke, according to Muller, reads as a political tract and Alton himself is represented through most of the novel as a dangerous agitator, a dramatic change occurs at the end with Alton renouncing his subversive views and embracing religion as a solution.  Kingsley seeing no distinction between the secular and the religious, believed that such desiderata as sanitary reform and social emancipation would come about through spiritual or religious emancipation. Alton Locke may be viewed not primarily as a Chartist novel but as an expression of Kingsley's Christian work on behalf of the poorer classes.  The novel "is really a Christian novel, written in the spirit of his sermons which never failed to emphasize, on the one hand, the Gospel message of the Kingdom of God, and, on the other, personal salvation or reform" (9).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Religion.

Vulliamy, Colwyn E.  "Charles Kingsley and Christian Socialism," in Writers and Rebels: From the Fabian Biographical Series, ed. by Michael Katanka (London: Knight, 1976; Totowa, N. J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), 159-191 (first published as a Fabian Tract in 1914).
Vulliamy examines Kingsley’s views as a socialist as they developed and changed throughout his life, paying particular attention to his connection with Chartism, his work in sanitation, his socialist publications, and his activities in the Christian Socialist movement.  Vulliamy stresses that Kingsley the socialist was extremely constitutional and on no account revolutionary.  In addition, he accepted the system of social classes as divinely ordained and were not be changed.  The pervasive social ills were to be blamed on the individual not the class.  He concludes that “Kingsley’s power is to be found, not in the startling or original nature of his views, but in his manly and uncompromising advocacy of those views, and in the example of a most living and vigorous personality” (189).

Overview; Social and Political Views; Chartism; Christian Socialism.

Williams, Raymond.  Culture and Society 1780-1950 (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1977; first published 1958).
Williams in his brief examination of the “extremely discursive” Alton Locke praises much of the background depiction of the novel.  He stresses the importance of the work’s conclusion.  While Chartism and the plight of the workers are treated sympathetically throughout, the true solution to life’s problems resides in the acceptance of God.  Williams also points to the novel’s preface where Kingsley argues that “The regeneration of society . . . will meanwhile proceed under the leadership of a truly enlightened aristocracy.  It will be a movement towards democracy, but not to that ‘tyranny of numbers’ of which the dangers have been seen in the United States” (112).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Novel; Chartism.


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