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; Overview; Carlyle; Maurice; Yeast; Alton Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia; Westward Ho!; Hereward the Wake.

Bertonneau, Thomas F.  “Like Hypatia Before the Mob: Desire, Resentment, and Sacrifice in The Bostonians (An Anthropoetics),” Nineteenth-Century Literature Vol. 53, No. 1 (June 1998): 56-90.
Bertonneau disagrees with the conventional contemporary reading of the scene in Hypatia where Hypatia is murdered by a Christian mob.  Such reading is that the mob is a true representation of Christianity and that Kingsley is castigating the hypocrisy and brutality of the new religion.  Rather, Bertonneau argues, just because the crowd thinks of itself as Christian and acts in the name of this religion, it does not mean that it is in fact truly Christian.  “The truth, in Kingsley’s scene, is that the sacrificial impulse comes not from Jesus (not from Christianity) but from the mob, which is motivated by passion, not by compassion . . . . The mob enacts the very impulse, namely sacrifice, that Jesus would suspend” (89).

Hypatia; Catholicism; History; Henry James.

Brewer, Elizabeth.  “Morris and the ‘Kingsley Movement',” The Journal of the William Morris Society Vol. IV, No. 2 (Summer 1980): 4-17.
Brewer examines the possible influence Kingsley’s works may have had on Morris.  She believes that it is very difficult to specify categorically that there was a direct influence, though there are many instances where the thought of both men overlapped. She discusses, among others, the attack on celibacy and asceticism in The Saint’s Tragedy and Hypatia; Kingsley’s stress on the importance of the environment in Yeast; the socio-political ideas pervading Alton Locke; Kingsley’s belief in the value of art, an awareness of one's heritage, and the pleasures of rural life to the ordinary working man; the use of the dream device in Alton Locke; the romance as well as the Norse element of Hypatia.

Morris, William; Saint’s Tragedy, The; Hypatia; Alton Locke; Westward Ho!; Yeast; Celibacy; Social and Political Views.

Chapman, Raymond.  The Victorian Debate: English Literature and Society 1832-1901 (New York: Basic Books, 1968).
Chapman briefly discusses Kingsley’s major social and political novels, Yeast (1848), Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet (1850), Hypatia (1853), and Two Years Ago (1857).  He also mentions The Water Babies (1863) for its treatment of child labor and social justice.  Chapman declares that Kingsley wrote in fiction about some of the topics with which Maurice was dealing in more theological terms.  “From Maurice he learned that the needs of the time could be a pragmatic sanction for Christianity; from Carlyle, how to subordinate reason to emotion.  The combination was, to say the least, a lively one.  Like Samuel Butler, so different in other ways, Kingsley wrote best about those things which he had made into a personal grievance” (135).

Social and Political Novel; Yeast; Alton Locke; Hypatia; Two Years Ago; The Water Babies.

Dorman, Susann.  “Hypatia and Callista: The Initial Skirmish between Kingsley and Newman,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction Vol. 34, No. 2 (September 1979): 173-193.
Dorman argues that the battle lines of the 1864 Kingsley-Newman controversy were drawn a decade earlier in the two ideologically opposite novels, Kingsley’s Hypatia and Newman’s Callista.  “. . . it is clear that the seed of the 1864 conflict which culminated in Newman’s personally triumphant Apologia Pro Vita Sua is deeply rooted in the philosophical antithesis between the novels Hypatia and Callista” (193).  Dorman also suggests that the criticism Kingsley received from Pusey for his novel’s alleged immorality, and his subsequent humiliation, strengthened his resolve not to be humiliated afresh years later but to make a strong attack on Newman in his 1864 pamphlet.

Newman Controversy; Hypatia.

Downes, David Anthony.  “Reverend Charles Kingsley: Prophet of Convulsion,” in The Temper of Victorian Belief: Studies in the Religious Novels of Pater, Kingsley, and Newman (New York: Twayne, 1972): 48-81.
Downes examines Kingsley’s style, which he terms “plain prophecy”, and his religious views.  He also discusses differences in style and temper between Kingsley and Newman, arguing that time has effected a “monumental irony on historical and critical judgment”.  He considers Newman to be a “medieval personalist” whereas Kingsley is a “prophetical modernist” (81).  Hypatia, argues Downes from his lengthy treatment of the novel, “represents Kingsley’s search for a way of expressing how religious faith in Christianity happens, and what it means in the most concrete personalist terms his imagination would conjure.  However philosophically vague, there is an attempt at a kind of phenomenology of faith, what Newman called ‘a grammar of assent.’  The tenability of Christianity as believable by people encountering their worlds on the most basic human levels is what Kingsley was striving to examine” (79).

Religion; Newman; Hypatia; History.

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).

Christian Socialism; Maurice; Religion; Social and Political Views; NovelsYeast; Alton Locke; Hypatia; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward the Wake.

Hawley, John C., S.J. “Newman the Novelist,” America Vol. 163, No. 18 (Dec 8, 1990): 455-457.
Hawley contrasts the opinions of Kingsley and Newman on marriage, sexuality, and celibacy especially as these are presented in their literary works. "In Loss and Gain and Callista Newman enshrined celibacy as a prophetic witness to the spiritual life.  Kingsley countered in his seven novels with his enshrinement of marriage as the highest Christian vocation, and coupled his praise with portrayals of celibate men and women who were fearful, untrustworthy and effeminate" (457).

Newman; Hypatia; Saint's Tragedy, The; Sexuality; Celibacy.

Howells, W. D.  “Charles Kingsley’s Hypatia,” in Heroines of Fiction Vol. II (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1901): 1-13.
Howells examines the novel Hypatia and concludes that it was not an artistic success.  Though capable of writing a greater work about fifth century Alexandria, Kingsley failed in his attempt mainly due to the weak representation of Hypatia herself, an unattractive and “rather repellent” character (6).  Howells considers Kingsley’s novel to be on a far higher plane than Bulwer Lytton’s The Last Days of Pompeii, yet falls below it in artistic effect.  While Bulwer was at least a melodramatist, “Kingsley was no dramatist at all, but an exalted moralist willing to borrow the theatre for the ends of the church.  If we realize this we shall understand why his figures seem to have come out of the property-room by way of the vestry” (8).  Howells praises Alton Locke for its potent protest against aspects of society’s injustices, yet criticizes it on artistic grounds as being excessively polemical.

Hypatia; Characterization in Novels; Reception of Kingsley's Works; Lytton, Bulwer.

Lackey, Lionel.  “Kingsley’s Hypatia: Foes Ever New,” The Victorian Newsletter No. 87 (Spring 1995): 1-4.
Lackey examines the theme and structure of Hypatia.  The novel’s pejorative depiction of many aspects of the early Church was met with much disfavor by many religiously conservative critics.  Though the novel’s ostensible thesis, according to Lackey, is that the early Church despite its faults was better than the atheism it replaced, the true thesis is that this Church’s bigotry, persecution, and violence are far from real Christianity.  Lackey ends by suggesting that a consideration of Kingsley’s views may still be relevant in today’s complex civilization; he “poses an alternative to the poles of a destructive Christianity and a soulless intellectualism” (4).

Hypatia; Religion; Social and Political Views.

Lankewish, Vincent A.  “Love Among the Ruins: The Catacombs, the Closet, and the Victorian ‘Early Christian’ Novel,” Victorian Literature and Culture Vol.  28, No. 2 (Sept 2000): 239-273.
Lankewish considers the Newman-Kingsley debate in the context of Kingsley's antipathy to what he perceived as Catholics' unnatural attitude toward sex, especially the Tractarian and Catholic depiction of Christ as spouse, and their embrace of celibacy which Kingsley frequently regarded as effeminacy. Kingsley, declares Lankewish, believed that it was only through such relations as marriage, parenthood, and family that God could be truly known.  Lankewish also discusses Newman's possible homosexuality and Kingsley's attitude to it.  He argues that a consideration of the sexual context of the Newman-Kingsley dispute provides a useful background to the study of the Victorian Early Christian novel. He contends, in particular, "that the Hypatia/Callista conflict not only anticipated the theological debate that erupted between Kingsley and Newman in 1864, but foreshadowed the gender and sexual tensions inherent within that debate as well.  Through the representation of the spiritual marriages between Christians and Christ that Kingsley found so deplorable, Early Christian novels by Wiseman, Newman, and Pater coopt the genre and transform it into a charged site for the articulation of sexual difference and, most specifically in Pater's case, of male-male desire" (252).

Newman Controversy; Hypatia; Sexuality; Celibacy; Religion.

Litvack, Leon B.  “Callista, Martyrdom, and the Early Christian Novel in the Victorian Age,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts Vol. 17, No. 2 (1993): 159-173.
A primary goal of Hypatia, or, New Foes with an Old Face, according to Litvack, was to question deeply held Roman Catholic principles and views of history of such as Newman and Wiseman, authors themselves of martyrological historical novels Callista (1855) and Fabiola (1854) respectively.  Kingsley throughout Hypatia, written in the early days of his growing antagonism to Newman, disparages aspects of the Patristic age and especially the 5th century when Christianity was the state religion.  By depicting the 5th century Church as corrupt and tyrannical, Kingsley was attacking the contemporary English Roman Catholic Church which was rapidly growing in influence.  “Kingsley enjoins his readers to look to themselves for justification – not to the past, in which he finds little support for his faith” (165).

Hypatia; Catholicism; Newman; History.

Maynard, John.  “Victorian Discourses on Sexuality and Religion,” University of Hartford Studies in Literature Vol. 19, Nos 2 & 3 (1987): 61-69.
For Kingsley, according to Maynard, religion and sexuality are thoroughly intermingled.  His dislike of Newman stemmed in large part from his strong aversion to religious celibacy.  However, all forms of sexual license for Kingsley was anathema..  The proper place for sexuality was within marriage, with only one marriage in a lifetime.  “Celibacy is religion without sex; licentiousness, sex without religion.  The via media for Kingsley, married religious sexuality, allows one unified discourse: married sexuality repairs the Fall and leads us from earth to heaven, which is only more – and more intensely – of the same” (63).  Kingsley also depicts competing types of sexuality in certain of his writings.  For example, in Hypatia the struggle between the intellectual views of different religious groups in 5th century Alexandria may be seen as just as much a competition of opposite sexual styles.  Similarly, Westward Ho! may be understood from the standpoint of opposite sexual religious world views as the conflict “between chaste, successful Protestants and lewd, unsuccessful Spanish Catholics” (64).

Religion; Sexuality; Celibacy; Hypatia; Westward Ho!.

McAlpin, Edwin A.  "The Conflict Between Theology and Spirituality. Hypatia, by Kingsley," Old and New Books as Life Teachers (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1928): 109-124.
After briefly sketching several other of Kingsley’s novels, McAlpin provides a longer though not very substantive account of Hypatia.  “Without defining his conviction in words Kingsley indicates in the experience of Raphael Aben-Ezra the supreme importance of Christianity as a life rather than as a set of theological doctrines and dogmas” (121-22).


Prickett, Stephen.  “Purging Christianity of its Semitic Origins: Kingsley, Arnold and the Bible,” in Juliet John and Alice Jenkins (eds.). Rethinking Victorian Culture (London: Macmillan, 2000): 63-79.
Prickett examines the role of pagan civilization and the Church in Hypatia.  Kingsley is favorable to neither.  Rather, his theory of history leads him to admire the Teutonic races who are civilization’s future.  The Catholicism of fourth-century Alexandria is as doomed as the pagan world it supplanted.  It is merely a proto-Christianity that is “saved only by the presence within it of certain forward-looking characters who dimly foreshadow, as it were, the coming age of Teutonic Protestantism a thousand years in the future” (68-9).

Hypatia; Religion; Racial Prejudices; Anti-semitism; Arnold, Matthew.

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, 1983): 195-207.
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” (206).

Overview; Novels; Alton Locke; Yeast; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hypatia; Hereward the Wake.

Smith, Sheila, and Peter Denman. “Mid-Victorian Novelists,” in Arthur Pollard (ed.) The Victorians (New York: Peter Bedrick, 1987, c. 1970): 239-285.
Smith and Denman survey Kingsley’s novels.  Yeast and Alton Locke are his best.  Yeast was the first novel devoted to the notion that unsanitary conditions and disease existed in the countryside as well as in the towns and cities.  A “courageous” novel, it also provided some indication “of the sexual squalor of the poor” (254, 253).  Though radical views are expressed in the novel, Smith and Denman declare that Kingsley did not believe in democracy.  “In his novels, as in Disraeli’s, the independence of the lower orders must be achieved within the existing class-structure” (255).  Though Alton Locke has powerful scenes, its propaganda takes precedence over the novel and its characters. Though Two Years Ago has some good scenes, it is a “long-winded novel” (260).  Smith and Denman have little positive to say of Hypatia and Westward Ho!, but state that The Water-Babies is Kingsley’s “most attractive book” (260).  “Charles Kingsley is a minor novelist, but in Yeast, Alton Locke and Two Years Ago he helped to extend the novel’s subject matter, and to make it more serious, more concerned with reality.  He saw God, Heaven and Hell in human terms.  This was an asset to him as a novelist, and gave substance to his novels” (261).

Novels; Yeast; Alton Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia; Westward Ho!; Social and Political Views.

Vance, Norman.  The Sinews of the Spirit: The Ideal of Christian Manliness in Victorian Literature and Religious Thought (Cambridge: 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).

Overview; Yeast; Alton Locke; Hypatia; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward the Wake; Muscular Christianity; Manliness; Newman Controversy.

Wolff, Robert Lee.  Gains and Losses: Novels of Faith and Doubt in Victorian England (New York and London: Garland, 1977).
Wolff praises Hypatia’s “vivid and engaging prose style”, its historical authenticity, the depiction of Hypatia, and its readability.  He writes that Kingsley had two main intentions in writing the novel. He was criticizing Transcendentalism, held by Emerson and others, wishing “to illustrate the dangers of the intellectual arrogance which falsely persuaded individual human beings that they could seek and find their own deity, ignoring the Church and religious tradition” (274).  Also, suspicious of the intellect and believing that the only path to faith was through emotional commitment, Kingsley was attacking the Tractarians and converts like Newman whom he held were “groping in the dead past for outworn dogmas and practices” (275).

Hypatia; Emerson; Transcendentalism; Catholicism; Celibacy.


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