|Byrom, Thomas. “Introduction”
to Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet (London: Dent
Byrom considers Alton Locke to be an ambiguous and confusing
novel. Kingsley is ambivalent about violence. While he clearly
sides with Alton and the notion of a fighting working class, he also agrees
with the orderly and conservative ideals of an aristocracy enlightened
by the Church. Kingsley is surprising in leaving Catholicism relatively
untouched; rather it is the dissenters, especially the Baptists, who receive
a harsh criticism. Also, the Tractarians are criticized as is Transcendentalism
which Bryom considers Kingsley failed to understand properly. Unlike
which suffered from an excessive authorial presence, the autobiographical
mode of Alton Locke results in a work more a novel than a tract.
Bryom concludes that Alton Locke, though entertaining, “is only
a fitful success. Reading it is rather like watching a film in which
much of the footage is out of focus” (ix). Though it is primarily
to be considered a failure when compared to the works of Dickens, this
is instructive. “Alton Locke was written when English fiction
enjoyed its greatest moment, and without it we should have a harder time
understanding the achievement of Dickens, who in so many respects shared
the conservative, reforming, doubting, bitter, compassionate sensibility
of the stuttering Rector of Eversley” (x).
and Political Views.
Keating, P. J. The Working Classes in Victorian
Fiction (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1971).
Keating makes numerous references to Kingsley in this work, particularly
to Alton Locke. Keating declares that the depiction of slum
life in the episode where Sandy Mackaye takes young Alton on a tour of
working-class London is representative of most pre-1880s accounts of slum
life in Victorian fiction. It is all foulness, all horror, with no
redeeming vitality, humor or humanity. Keating contrasts this type
of scene with what he declares are the more subtle portrayals of slum life
in Dickens. Though the latter also frequently represents the squalor
of slums, he usually depicts their inhabitants as possessing humor and
vigor. He humanizes the slum and, unlike Kingsley, does not accept
that the pervasive physical meanness represents the whole of working-class
life, Depiction of.
Manlove, Colin. “Charles
Kingsley, H. G. Wells, and the Machine in Victorian Fiction,” Nineteenth-Century
Literature Vol. 48, No. 2 (Sept. 1993): 212-239.
Manlove declares that apart from Samuel Butler in his Erehwon,
the only important Victorian writers who focus on the central role the
machine plays in life and nature are H. G. Wells, in The Time Machine
and The War of the Worlds, and Kingsley, in The Water-Babies.
He argues that though The Water-Babies may appear to be a marine
pastoral, machines and engines are mentioned over and over again and the
animals themselves are treated as in part machines. He considers
that The Water-Babies reflects Kingsley's view that the whole order
of nature functions as one great engine. In fact, the content and
the style of the novel renders it a type of organic engine itself.
"The Water-Babies is an amazing diversity of contexts, characters,
and apparent irrelevancies, all bound together by secret principles that
make it a machine without being a monolithic one -- indeed, it manages
to fuse all the variety that Kingsley saw in nature with the purposiveness
of the engine."
The; The Water-Babies.
Myer, Valerie Grosvenor. "Charles Kingsley's
A Seminal Novel," Notes and Queries Vol. 39, No. 2 (June 1992):
Myer writes that Dickens and Eliot were influenced by Hypatia
and that there are echoes of incidents in this novel in their own Great
Expectations and Daniel Deronda respectively.
Peyrouton, N. C. “Charles Dickens and the Christian
Socialists. The Kingsley-Dickens Myth,” The Dickensian Vol. 58 (May
Peyrouton examines the views and works of Kingsley and Dickens, especially
their social and political opinions. Though the two men agreed in
part on various aspects of society’s ills and their appropriate solutions,
their differences are as patent as their similarities. Peyrouton’s principal
goal in the article is to dismiss what he terms the Kingsley-Dickens Myth,
namely that Dickens through the influence of his novels established a Dickensian
school of which Kingsley became an ardent disciple; that Dickens “by igniting
Kingsley” helped the latter shape Christian Socialism; and that both men
shared many views and ideals (96).
Socialism; Social and Political