Prickett, Stephen.  “Adults in Allegory Land: Kingsley and MacDonald,” in his Victorian Fantasy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979): 150-197.
Prickett provides a lengthy examination of The Water-Babies comparing and contrasting it with several allegorical fantasies of George MacDonald.  Among other topics, he discusses the extent to which Kingsley was influenced by Wordsworth regarding his view of nature and his attitude to childhood, as well as by Rabelais.  He also examines Platonism, religion, evolution, and the nature of allegory in The Water-Babies.  Prickett declares that Kingsley and MacDonald have quite distinct mental sets.  “Kingsley, the botanist, marine biologist and historian is fascinated by every minute detail of this world; ‘other’ worlds are constructs – telling us yet more about this.  MacDonald is a temperamental Platonist, only interested in the surface of this world for the news it gives him of another, hidden reality, perceived, as it were, through a glass darkly” (193).

The Water-Babies; MacDonald, George; Rabelais; Wordsworth; Nature; Children; Religion; Plato; Evolution.

Rosen, David. "The Volcano and the Cathedral: Muscular Christianity and the Origins of Primal Manliness," in Hall, Donald E. (ed.).  Muscular Christianity: Embodying the Victorian Age (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1994): 17-44.
David Rosen provides a lengthy analysis of the development of Kingsley's views on muscular Christianity and manliness. He stresses that these were complex, many sided notions and that Kingsley's views on these topics, as well as his practical involvement in complementary areas, continuously evolved throughout his life. Rosen argues that among the many influences on Kingsley's concept of manliness was the notion of Platonic thumos which Kingsley considered was a primal manly force, the root of all virtue and which was manifested through sex, fighting, and morality. Rosen contends that Kingsley's views on manliness and related topics were highly influential and that diverse notions of Anglo-American masculinity from the mid-nineteenth century to the present owe much to Kingsley.

Manliness; Muscular Christianity; Sexuality; Plato; Carlyle; Hughes, Thomas.

Vance, Norman.  “Kingsley’s Christian Manliness,” Theology Vol. LXXVIII, No. 655 (January 1975): 30-38.
Vance declares that Plato's doctrine of thumos was central to Kingsley's notion of manliness.  In addition, his ideal of manliness required a sound religious basis as well as a distinct moral independence that eshews fatalism and moral inertia.  Rejecting what he called the Manichaeism of some Tractarians and Evangelicals who finding the world hopelessly evil withdraw from it, Kingsley held that the ideal of true Christian manliness required working strenuously within the world to ameliorate it. Kingsley also embraced the more common understanding of manliness by lauding the cultivation of the body by sport and physical exertion.

Muscular Christianity; Manliness; Religion; Plato.


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