|Baldwin, Stanley E. Charles
Kingsley (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1934).
This is a book length treatment of Kingsley's life and works.
After chapters providing a brief biography, a discussion of the background
of the novels, and a consideration of the influence of Carlyle and Maurice,
Baldwin devotes separate chapters to each of the novels: Yeast, Alton
Locke, Two Years Ago, Hypatia, Westward Ho!, and Hereward the Wake.
Baldwin is measured in his assessment, though he still finds much to praise
in Kingsley's diverse literary endeavors. Nevertheless, he considers Kingsley
the man as more prominent than his literature. "Some men's writings
are the greatest part of them, and posterity studies their lives through
a spirit of curiosity excited by their works. In a sense this is
true of Kingsley, but in a truer sense many are reading Kingsley's literary
works because of the indelible impression his personality made upon his
fellow men, for whom, in all his activities, he labored. His life
in itself was a poem of deep lyric passion" (194).
Full Book Treatment;
Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia;
Ho!; Hereward the Wake.
Evans, Rosemary. “Hereward the Wake: An
Aberdeen University Review Vol. 49, No. 166 (Autumn
Evans is fulsome in her praise of Hereward the Wake (1866).
She admires its absolutely natural dialogue, its splendidly real characterization;
its historical accuracy that is as correct as is reasonably possible; its
fine drama, its succinctness of writing; its beauty. “. . . the result
is one of the finest novels in our literature – and one, alas, that has
been passed over and neglected” (76).
Harris, Styron. “The 'Muscular Novel': Medium
of a Victorian Ideal,” Tennessee Philological Bulletin Vol. 27 (1990):
Harris discusses the notion of “muscular Christianity”. It is
epitomized in three dominant figures of the novels: Amyas Leigh in Westward
Ho!, Tom Thurnall in Two Years Ago, and Hereward in Hereward
the Wake. Harris also discusses Kingsley’s influence on Thomas
Hughes and on Hughes’s portrayal of muscular Christianity in his novels
Brown’s Schooldays, The Scouring of White Horse, and Tom Brown at
Oxford. Both novelists took care to distinguish the muscular
Christian from one who is mere muscle and both abhorred the hero of George
Alfred Lawrence’s novel Guy Livingstone who personified “muscularity
without Christianity or moral considerations”. Nevertheless, Harris
agrees with David Newsome that despite their broader meaning of muscular
Christianity, “the muscular novel according to Kingsley and Hughes contributed
to the immense vogue of athletics from the late sixties onwards” (11).
Christianity; Hughes, Thomas; Westward
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
Hartley, Allan John. The Novels
of Charles Kingsley: A Christian Social Interpretation (Folkestone:
The Hour-Glass Press, 1977).
Hartley in this book-length study interprets
Kingsley's novels in the light of the influence of the Christian Social
Movement. He contends that Kingsley is unusual in using novels to set forth
the message of one whom he, together with many others, viewed as the age's
greatest prophet, F. D. Maurice. "The value of Kingsley's novels ultimately
lies less in their advocacy of liberality and reform, than in their insistent
justification of both on the basis of Christian humanism. Kingsley's
inspiration sprang from Maurice whose reading of the Bible had shown his
disciple the meaning, both of Christianity and of history, and the novels
proclaim that social improvement had necessarily to proceed within the
existing framework of society, which for Kingsley meant a Christian dispensation
based on Commandments engraven on tablets of stone and interpreted by sacrificial
love. A minor prophet proclaiming a minor one, Kingsley thus added
a new dimension to the novel" (169).
Socialism; Maurice; Religion;
and Political Views;
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
Newby, Richard L. “Wilkie Collins's Man and
Wife: Kingsley's Athlete Scouted,” McNeese Review Vol. 26 (1979-80):
Newby discusses Wilkie Collins's castigation in his 1869-70 Man
and Wife of Kingsley's vaunted athleticism. He provides numerous reasons
for Collins's dislike of Kingsley, ranging from the latter's status as
a most respectable Establishment figure to Kingsley's denigration of the
importance of the intellect. Collins viewed this anti-intellectualism as
being closely connected to Kingsley's athleticism especially as advocated
in the three novels Hereward the Wake, Two Years Ago, and Westward
Ho!. Man and Wife's propagandizing against athleticism
is Collins's retaliation.
the Wake, Two Years Ago; Westward
Peck, John. War, the Army and Victorian Literature
Hampshire: Macmillan, 1998).
Peck discusses the theme of war in Westward Ho! and Hereward
the Wake. He considers the former novel unusual and honest in
its depiction of the economic basis of imperialism. Kingsley understands
that the English fought the Spanish for a commercial cause, while religion
and nationalism were mere subservient causes. With respect to the
representation of the hero in Hereward the Wake and Kingsley's other
novels, Peck writes that "it becomes possible to see that [Kingsley] might
be always more than half aware of the preposterousness of advocating the
heroic in a non-heroic age, and of supporting militarism in a society that
has turned its back on militarism. It might be true that his works
begin the formulation of a rhetoric of race and empire that will become
central in literature by the end of the century, but when his novels are
actually read Kingsley's contradictions are far more evident than his convictions"
Ho!; Hereward the Wake; Imperialism.
Rapple, Brendan A. "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 163: British Children's Writers, 1800-1880.
Edited by Meena Khorana (Detroit: Gale 1996): 136-147.
Following the usual format of the DLB, a bibliography of Kingsley’s
own works is followed by an account of his life interspersed with an analysis
of his writings, in this case his works for children. A short secondary
bibliography is appended. Several illustrations are also provided.
Rapple’s assessment: “Tastes change, and it is not surprising that modern
children eschew works intended for their Victorian ancestors. The
Heroes has been supplanted by other retellings of the Greek tales;
the science of Glaucus and Madam How and Lady Why no longer
has appeal, and today's youth would reject the books’ pervasive social
commentary, sermonizing, and didacticism. Nor is Westward Ho!
read much by present-day youngsters, though it is still available in a
children's edition. The significant exception has been the consistently
high readership, especially in the United Kingdom, for The Water-Babies,
of which there are probably more editions, adaptations, and abridgements
in print today than in Kingsley's own time. The work’s simplicity,
brilliant fantasy, and affection for the young, despite its frequent preaching,
still capture the devotion of children. It is The Water-Babies,
though its author would never have foretold it, that will ensure Kingsley
a high rank in the history of children's literature” (146).
Ho!; Heroes, The; The
Water-Babies; Hereward the Wake;
How and Lady Why.
Sanders, Andrew. “Last of the English: Charles Kingsley’s
the Wake,” The Victorian Historical Novel, 1840-1880
: St. Martin's, 1979): 149-167.
Sanders considers that Kingsley's historical novels, despite their
obvious inadequacies, are not, in Henry James's terminology, "amateurish."
In particular, he praises Hereward the Wake's action, its characterization,
and its presentation of a strange medieval period. Sanders also argues
that some of this novel's themes, particularly the divine mission of the
Teutons, had been anticipated by Kingsley in his 1860 Cambridge lectures,
Roman and the Teuton. Above all, the novel epitomizes Kingsley's
categoric belief that England's Germanic background played a primary role
in the nation's historical development. "It is also central to an appreciation
of Kingsley's work as an historical novelist, for in it he attempts to
examine the concept of a national hero and to relate heroism to national
the Wake; Novels;
Roman and the Teuton;
Scott, Patrick. "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 21. Victorian Novelists Before
1885. Edited by Ira B. Nadel and William E. Fredeman (Detroit: Gale,
This follows the usual format of the DLB. A bibliography
of Kingsley’s own works is followed by an account of his life interspersed
with an analysis of his major writings, in this case his novels.
A short secondary bibliography is appended. Several illustrations
are also provided. Scott sums up Kingsley the novelist as follows:
‘If Kingsley never wrote a great work or an unflawed masterpiece, he can
now, in light of the new biographical evidence, be recognized as a writer
of considerable psychological complexity, one who produced searching and
imaginative responses to some of the central issues of the late 1840s”
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hypatia;
Stitt, Megan Perigoe. Metaphors of Change in the
Language of Nineteenth-Century Fiction: Scott, Gaskell, and Kingsley
Clarendon Press, 1998).
During the nineteenth century the study of language and linguistic
analysis shared with geology certain metaphors for describing change and
theories of progress. This book analyses how Kingsley, Walter Scott, and
Elizabeth Gaskell treated language and particularly dialect in their novels.
From textual study of the novels and an analysis of the language of contemporary
science, Stitt explores how different genres affected the Victorian age’s
use of metaphor and its frequently conflicting theories of progress.
Notion of; Progress; Language;
Locke; Westward Ho!; Hereward
Uffelman, Larry K. “Kingsley’s Hereward the
Wake: From Serial to Book,” Victorians Institute Journal Vol.
14 (1986): 147-156.
Kingsley, according to Uffelman, very carefully revised the text of
his last novel in its original serial form for its publication as a book.
Published first in the Protestant journal Good Words, Hereward displays
throughout Kingsley’s hatred for effete, feminine monasticism and by extension
Roman Catholicism. However, Uffelman shows that Kingsley as he made
revisions for publishing the novel in book form toned down some of his
more venomous passages “tempering his story to fit a different medium and
to appeal to the taste of a more liberal publisher," Macmillan (155).
the Wake; Macmillan's; Catholicism;
Vance, Norman. The Sinews of the Spirit: The
Ideal of Christian Manliness in Victorian Literature and Religious Thought
Cambridge University Press, 1985).
Vance devotes two chapters to Kingsley's life, thought, and literary
works paying particular attention to themes of the relationship of manliness
to religion in his novels. "Christian manliness was not just an ideal
in Kingsley's fiction, it was the basis of his practical work as pastor,
teacher and reformer and the essence of his life and experience" (107).
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
the Wake; Muscular Christianity;
Young, Michael. “History as Myth: Charles Kingsley's
the Wake,” Studies in the Novel Vol. XVII, No. 2 (Summer 1985):
Young considers Hereward the Wake to be a work of “secular scripture”.
Its aim “is to assert, after the fact, the inevitability of Britain’s rise
through history to the status of preeminent world power; to confirm the
rightness of this rise; to confer authority on it by linking it both by
secular precedent and divine origin; and to project it onto a limitless
future by presenting the embodiment of the national enterprise, the empire,
as prefiguring the millennium, reunifying the divine and the secular” (174).
the Wake; History; History