Manlove, C. N. “Charles Kingsley (1819-75) and The Water-Babies,” in his Modern Fantasy: Five Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975): 13-54.
Manlove relates this examination of the major themes, theories, and stylistic devices of The Water-Babies to Kingsley's wider views. He contends that we should be tentative about categorically assigning a specific idea to Kingsley. The one constant is the protean nature, the multiplicity, the diversity, the volatility, and uncertainty of his thought. Kingsley's many contradictions have "a natural home" in The Water-Babies (17). Manlove believes that the split in Kingsley's depiction of Tom's character not only lies at the root of the difficulties in The Water-Babies and Kingsley's other works but also mirrors the manifest divisions in Kingsley's own personality and thought, for example the divide between Kingsley the materialist and the mystic, between Kingsley as scientist and Christian. Manlove concludes that "Kingsley was not more of a materialist than a mystic: rather he was each with divided faculties. About the only thing that unites the dualism in himself and his work is his vigour" (53).