|Adamson, John William. English
Education, 1789-1902 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964;
first published 1930).
Among several other mentions of Kingsley, Adamson refers to his advocacy
of improved educational opportunities for women.
Beer, Gillian. “Kingsley: 'pebbles on the shore',”
Listener Vol. 93 (17 April, 1975): 506-7.
Beer briefly considers Kingsley’s views on the importance of catering
to children’s imaginative needs. She reviews certain attributes of
Water-Babies. It is distressful, very funny, and full of social
and political digressions; some of its episodes are cruel and make us wince;
it is very sensual and crammed with physical experiences. She discusses
the important role aspects of evolutionary theory play throughout the work.
“It is hard, I think, to over-emphasise the richness of Kingsley’s recognition
of mythic elements in the ideas of development and mutation, of ‘metamorphosis’
as Darwin sometimes calls it . . .” In addition, complementing physical
transformation, moral transformation, the responsibility of the individual
himself, is a very significant theme in the work. Beer also stresses
that Mother Carey is a female principle of creativity, as opposed to the
more usual male God. Because of the occurrences of child death in
Water-Babies Beer views it as a kindertotenlied, “another of
those attempts to give meaning to the death of children, so deeply and
terribly needed by the Victorians” (507).
Calder, Jenni. Women and Marriage in Victorian
Fiction (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976).
Kingsley, writes Calder, viewed the home as the primary place for women.
Middle class women might do good work on behalf of the underprivileged
but they should never neglect their own families. “. . . fundamentally
he could see no other role for them in the state except as educators of
Christensen, Allan C. “Sick Mothers and Daughters:
Symptoms of Cultural Disorder in Novels by Manzoni, Dickens, Kingsley,
Bulwer-Lytton, James,” RSV: Rivista di Studi Vittoriani Vol. 7,
No. 4 (January 1999): 5-32.
Christensen discusses the relationship of mother and daughter in Two
Years Ago in the context of society's "sick cultural system"
(6). “The passionate reunification of mother and daughter thus comes
to typify not only the event that will restore health to a particular plague-stricken
culture but also the redemption of the human race” (26).
Two Years Ago;
and Daughters; Females;
and Political Views.
Fasick, Laura. "Charles Kingsley's Scientific
Treatment of Gender," in Hall, Donald E. (ed.). Muscular Christianity:
Embodying the Victorian Age (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University
Press, 1994): 91-113.
Laura Fasick examines Kingsley's representations of women against the
background of the age's scientific theories, considering that his depiction
of disease, unsanitary conditions, and bodily ill-treatment in his novels
represents an attempt to define strict gender distinctions. She argues
that "The 'factual' basis on which Kingsley founded his concern for the
maintenance of distinct gender roles was not only scientifc, but specifically
hygienic. . . . Kingsley is as obsessed with sexuality, for him sanctified
by monogamous marriage, as with hygiene, and these interests effectively
merge into one" (91).
Hall, Donald E. “Kingsley as Negotiator: Class/Gender
Discord/Discourse in Yeast and Alton Locke,” in Fixing
Patriarchy: Feminism and Mid-Victorian Male Novelists (New York: New
York University Press, 1996): 63-83.
Hall stresses the number and the range of scholars' polarized accounts
of Kingsley's views on gender issues. However, he argues that the
many diverse and conflicting opinions of this multi-faceted man are "emblematic
of an age and process of negotiation . . . . If we view Kingsley as an
active negotiator among parties holding radically divergent views, we fully
expect to find that his perspectives involve both give and take, both concession
and retrenchment" (66-67). He considers that the tensions and the
diversity of Kingsley's views mirror the complexities and confusion of
the age. He goes on to analyze in detail the class, gender, and feminist
implications in Yeast and Alton Locke.
as; Yeast; Alton
Harrington, Henry R. “Charles
Kingsley's Fallen Athlete,” Victorian Studies Vol. 21, No. 1 (Autumn
In his treatment of Kingsley's views on sport, physical activity, and
the nature of manliness, Harrington declares that Kingsley, who detested
the notion of muscular Christianity, held that the manly Christian's passions
must be checked by "'feminine virtue'", that is morality and self-restraint.
Kingsley believed that it was difficult for the manly Christian to come
down from the exalted sporting moment which offered distraction from the
problems of normal existence and from sexual frustration. To do so
is essentially a fall. However, "because of 'feminine virtue', it
is a fortunate fall. Within Kingsley's private theodicy, the fallen
athlete and the manly Christian are one in a fictional world redeemed by
his faith in 'feminine virtue'" (74).
Hawley, John C., S.J. “The Muscular Christian
as Schoolmarm,” in Kristine Ottesen Garrigan, Victorian Scandals: Represenations
of Gender and Class (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1992): 134-156.
Hawley examines Kingsley's views on the role of women in society, focusing
in particular on their educational provision. Believing that the deliberately
inadequate education of many young middle-class women had rendered them
just as much societal victims as the children of the poor, Kingsley argued
that the education of the former must be improved. Hawley declares that
Kingsley held a middle ground between the conservatives who viewed women's
education as essentially decorative and the progressives who considered
that the male and female curriculum should be identical: "Kingsley's implied
compromise endorses subjects that would turn out intelligent social workers
rather than stereotypical bluestockings" (139). Hawley also states
that Kingsley's work and writings supporting improved education for women
was not complemented by support for all aspects of the women's movement.
Believing in essential differences between men and women and ultimately
ambivalent on the Woman Question, Kingsley was critical of women's suffrage
and caricatured those women who refused to allow men to lead the movement
for their rights.
Labbe, Jacqueline M. “The Godhead Regendered
in Victorian Children’s Literature,” in Alice Jenkins and Juliet John (eds.)
Victorian Fiction (UK: Macmillan, 2000): 96-114.
Labbe argues that many texts of Victorian children’s literature substituted
the Wise Woman, the Fairy Godmother, for God the Father as the sage of
choice. Christianity, in short, was being feminized. In The
Water-Babies such “female deities” as Mother Carey, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby,
and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid with their female virtues of love, compassion
and inherent knowledge are more important than the more manly qualities
in the divine order. “In Kingsley’s version of the female Christ,
he realigns Christ’s gender, or rather his sex; this female Christ poses
no threat to established gender roles, but rather makes plain the femininity
of Christ’s character” (104).
La Nauze, J. A. “A Letter of J. S. Mill to Charles
Kingsley,” Australian Quarterly Vol. XVIII, No. 4 (December
La Nauze discusses and publishes for the first time a letter from Mill
to Kingsley. It is a reply to a letter from Kingsley and both letters
concerned the status and the suffrage of women.
John Stuart Mill;
Muller, Charles H. “The
Heroes: Kingsley’s Moral Lessons,” Textures Vol. 2 (1986): 37-44.
Muller sees The Heroes, Kingsley’s retelling of the Greek legends,
as “almost undisguised moral lessons. This is clear from the biblical
style, the personal addresses to the reader, the moral stance and numerous
moral dictums and exhortations spun around the old Greek heroes who are
presented as models of positive initiative, daring, courage and majesty
– moral models for the young reader to admire and emulate” (37).
Muller, Charles H. “Westward Ho! -- Sermon
in the Guise of Adventure,” UNISA English Studies Vol. 23,
No. 1 (1985): 15-20.
Muller argues that Kingsley’s primary purpose in Westward Ho! was
a moral one, the reinforcement of English Protestant values. The adventure
story was clearly secondary to the delineation of the characters’ virtues
and sins. In addition to Kingsley’s own sermonizing commentary, the
characters epitomize Christian and moral purpose. For example, Eustace
personifies moral failure, Amyas typifies perfect Christian ideals.
Such themes as self-rule, personal or self sacrifice, and divine providence
pervade the novel. Muller also stresses the important virtuous and
moral qualities as depicted in the novel’s women characters, Amyas’s mother,
Mrs Leigh, Rose Salterne, Ayacanora. Kingsley’s message, according
to Muller, “to all his masculine readers is, to value the spiritualising
love of woman; and to his women readers, to emulate the spiritual example
of this perfect Christian woman” (20).
Rapple, Brendan A. “The Educational Thought of
Charles Kingsley (1819-75),” Historical Studies in Education Vol.
9, No. 1 (Spring 1997): 46-64.
Rapple writes that though Kingsley’s educational works were not as
considerable as those of such contemporaries as Kay-Shuttleworth, Matthew
Arnold, Spencer, or Huxley, they were still significant. However,
they have generally received scant scholarly attention, with the exception
of his muscular Christianity activities. Contending that Kingsley
the educationist requires a more complete treatment, Rapple, “as a vanguard
to the needed account,” examines Kingsley’s “attitude to the young, his
staunch belief that the State should be deeply implicated in the provision
of education, the relation between Kingsley's 'Muscular Christianity' and
his views on education, his fervent conviction that science should figure
more noticeably in the curriculum, his belief that hygiene and sanitary
knowledge should be universally taught, and his advocacy of female education
at all levels” (47).
Socialism; Muscular Christianity;
Walsh, Susan A. “Darling Mothers, Devilish Queens:
The Divided Woman in Victorian Fantasy,” The Victorian Newsletter No.
72 (Fall 1987): 32-36.
Walsh discusses the treatment of women in The Water-Babies.
Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, a nurturing spirit, is kindness and gentleness
personified and loved by all babies. She even “suffers the little
children to come to her in a somewhat cloying version of the New Testament
invitation” (33). On the other hand, Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid, though
compassionate, has the task of being strict and tough. She enforces
morals and provides retribution to those who don’t measure up to proper
high standards. The enigmatic Mother Carey combines the soft kindness
of Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and the ancient austerity of Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid.
Though amazingly fertile and fecund, she “suggests a kind of spontaneous,
ceaseless birth that is also removed and static” (33). Accordingly,
declares Walsh, one may easily discern “in these dual personifications
the division perceived by countless Romantic and Victorian writers within
the female figure itself, as gentle monitress on the one hand, and sleepless
moral enforcer on the other” (33).
Wijesinha, Rajiva. The
Androgynous Trollope: Attitudes to Women Amongst Early Victorian Novelists
Press of America, 1982).
From a study of his novels Wijesinha concludes
that Kingsley held that woman's primary role was to attach herself to a
man and to serve him. Woman was made for man. Man was to guide
and control, woman was an instrument.