Alderson, David.  “An Anatomy of the British Polity: Alton Locke and Christian Manliness,” in Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys (eds.) Victorian Identities: Social and Cultural Formations in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996): 43-61.
Alderson examines the history of the concept “Christian manliness” and, in particular, Kingsley’s promotion of it in his life and works.  He focuses on the concept’s delineation in Alton Locke.  He declares that this novel “lays bare most clearly the anxieties and ideological commitments which produced his influential conceptualisation of the relationship between the masculine body and social order.”  Alderson is particularly concerned “with the imperatives of a counter-revolutionary and Protestant culture which enabled the Kingsleyan sense of the ideal male body to become so central to the masculine self-definition of Britain’s rulers” (43-44).

Manliness; Muscular Christianity; Alton Locke; Imperialism.

Brandenstein, Claudia. "Imperial Positions in Charles Kingsley's At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies,” Span: Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies Vol. 46 (April 1998): 4-18.
Brandenstein examines Kingsley’s At Last, his account of his 1869 trip to the West Indies, and what he considered to be his role in the imperial mission.  She considers the wide range of other accounts of the West Indies drawn upon by Kingsley.  She argues that among a number of imperialist positions presented in the text is an anxious, ambivalent one, namely imperialism in peril.  “At Last casts doubt on and indeed problematizes the imperial narrative, thereby calling into question the parameters of Kingsley’s own fictional adventure story" (13).  Moreover, “At Last is not the type of bedtime story that Britain wants to tell itself, since in this text Britain is not fully figured as triumphant victor; its author is much too ambivalent towards the stock representations of colonialism popular at the time” (15).

At Last; Imperialism; Colonialism; Travel Writing; West Indies; Natural History.

Gikandi, Simon.  “Englishness, Travel, and Theory: Writing the West Indies in the Nineteenth Century,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts Vol. 18, No. 1 (1994): 49-70.
Gikandi considers Kingsley's At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies (1885) in his study of imperialist thought in English nineteenth century writers' accounts of travel to the West Indies.  He regards At Last as a "startling example" of "inherent circularity of imperial discourse" (67).  Though Kingsley went to the West Indies with liberal and Christian sympathies, he found it difficult to be objective about what he witnessed due to his theological background and intellectual tradition.  For example, he supported the strict control and supervision of the indentured Coolies, even though in England he was a strong advocate of emancipation and the creation of a '"moral bound"' between employee and employer.  Gikandi argues that Kingsley reached this conclusion about the West Indian context not because of what he saw there or because of his understanding of the Coolies' own views and perspectives.  "Rather the traveler reaches his conclusions from three mutually informing sources: official reports (both oral and written), intellectual Orientalism, and evolutionary doctrines" (67).  In common with other Victorian travel writers Kingsley was "already animated by existing themes and delimited by discursive regulations" (67).

At Last; Travel Writing; West Indies; Imperialism; Colonialism; Froude.

Kovacevic, Ivanka.  “Charles Kingsley's Imperialism and the Victorian Frame of Mind,” Filoloski Pregled: Casopis Saveza Drustava za Strane Jezike I Knjizevnost SFRJ Vol. 3-4 (1975): 55-72.
Kovacevic examines what he considers to be Kingsley's manifest jingoism, racism, and imperialism, declaring that his views on these topics were similar to those of Thomas Carlyle, Max Muller, and J. A. Froude.  He discusses briefly Kingsley's stance on the Governor Eyre controversy, his xenophobia, his generally negative opinion of the Spanish, the Irish, the Russians, the Indians, and others.  He declares that "Kingsley was a pure racist" who "taught that primitive natives are mere animals" (68).  Kingsley justified his imperialism by his belief "that some are born to command and some to obey, and he extended this belief to include nations and races as well.  If those of 'noble blood' have the right to comand, it follows that the Aryans should govern inferior races" (55-56).  Nevertheless, Kovacevic writes that Kingsley, neither a theorist nor ideologist, should not bear too much responsibility for the practical politics of the day.  His racist and imperialist views were those already being expounded by great numbers of the contemporary educated English public.

Social and Political Views; Racial Prejudices; Imperialism; Carlyle; Muller, Max; Froude.

O’Gorman, Francis. "'More interesting than all the books, save one': Charles Kingsley’s Construction of Natural History," in Juliet John and Alice Jenkins. Rethinking Victorian Culture (London: Macmillan, 2000): 146-161.
Francis O’Gorman examines carefully the text of Glaucus; or, The Wonders of the Shore (1854-5).  He reveals that Kingsley displays a common Victorian tendency in linking the study of natural history with that of self-improvement.  Such study may be a productive use of leisure time if it helps strengthen one’s moral virtues.  Drawing repeatedly on the theme of medieval chivalry, Kingsley invests the natural historian with the heroic qualities of a knight.  O’Gorman also points to the theology of Glaucus which shows nature as consistently illustrating God’s bounty.  The student of the natural world sees the pervasive presence of God the creator everywhere.  In addition, O’Gorman sees Kingsley’s imperialistic, colonialist tendencies revealed in the desire to conquer nature.  For example, he discusses colonial connotations in the mundane task of collecting for the aquarium: “The natural historian’s collection . . . implicitly asserts the authority of the collector to appropriate and display ‘foreign’ ways of life, to signify superiority by disclosing his power to organize, describe and own examples of other forms of life” (155)

Glaucus; Natural History; Moral Lessons; Imperialism; Colonialism.

Peck, John.  War, the Army and Victorian Literature (Basingstoke, 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" (125).

War; Westward Ho!; Hereward the Wake; Imperialism.

Wallace, Jo-Ann “De-Scribing The Water-Babies: ‘The Child’ in Post-Colonial Theory,” in Chris Tiffin and Alan Lawson (eds.) De-Scribing Empire: Post-colonialism and Textuality (London and New York: Routledge, 1994): 171-184.
Wallace argues that whereas the child in The Water-Babies is the center of educational, social reform and imperialist debate, he is depoliticized in the 1984 abridged Puffin Classics edition and repoliticized in Jamaica Kincaid’s 1983 short story ‘Wingless’.  The Puffin edition, mirroring post-colonialist guilt, “is paradigmatic of ‘the West’s’ continuing and contradictory investment in a vision of childhood as a universal unmarked by class, place, or history”.  However, ‘Wingless’, “disallows such a disavowal of historical and geographical specificity by returning both the text of The Water-Babies and the child reader to colonialist history” (182).

The Water-Babies; Kincaid, Jamaica; Imperialism; Colonialism; Children.

Wee, C. J. W.-L. "Christian Manliness and National Identity: The Problematic Construction of a Racially 'Pure' Nation," in Hall, Donald E.  (ed.).  Muscular Christianity: Embodying the Victorian Age (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1994): 66-88.
Wee discusses how Kingsley used the innovative treatment of the relationship of Christianity to race and cultural history in the novels Alton Locke and Westward Ho! "in a process of national self-definition, through what might be called 'cultural nationalism'." Wee argues that in doing so "Kingsley also reveals the problems surrounding the construction of a pure national-imperial identity based on racial and religious heritage, as he attempted to propagate the potent but unstable image of a masculine, charismatic, and authoritative Englishman who stands as a representative of a resolutely Anglo-Saxon and Protestant nation-empire" (67).

Yeast; Westward Ho!; Manliness; Muscular Christianity; Imperialism; Racial Prejudices; Social and Political Views.


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