|Gallagher, Catherine. “The Tailor Unraveled: The Unaccountable
‘I’ in Kingsley’s Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet” in The Industrial
Reformation of English Fiction: Social Discourse and Narrative Form 1832-1867
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985): 88-110.
Gallagher argues that Kingsley’s industrial novel, Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet, demonstrates just how complicated the issue of freedom is. An ambivalence about causality marks it more deeply than any other industrial novel. "For Kingsley chose a form that expressed his Romantic faith in a free will benevolently reconciled with God-given circumstances; however, his reforming purpose led him to add incongruous elements, suggestions of negative environmental determinism, to that form. The resulting contradiction is neither avoided nor suppressed nor resolved in the narrative, for Kingsley’s form encourages the narrator to review the free will/determinism controversy obsessively throughout the book. Indeed, the narrator is so indecisive about causality that he is simply unable to create a defined central character, and Alton Locke becomes, quite unintentionally, a novel that questions the reality of individual identity and undermines faith in the possibility of reverential, realistic fiction” (89).