Reception of Kingsley's Works
Alderson, Brian.  “Introduction” to Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995): ix-xxix.
In his introduction to a 1995 edition of The Water-Babies Alderson discusses the story's first publication as a serial in Macmillan's Magazine, the subsequent revision of the text for its appearance in book format in May 1863, and the contemporary market for children's literature. After a lengthy analysis of The Water-Babies, Alderson treats some of the critical reaction to it. He concludes with a discussion of the importance of Kingsley's authorial presence in the novel.

The Water-Babies; Publication; Macmillan’s Magazine; Reception of Kingsley's Works.
 

Hawley, John C., S.J.  “Charles Kingsley and Literary Theory of the 1850s,” Victorian Literature and Culture Vol. 19 (1991): 167-188.
Hawley discusses Kingsley's literary criticism of his own and of others' writing as well as other literary critics' views on his writings during the 1850s.  He points out that this period witnessed rapidly emerging theories of criticism that tended to be disapproving both of Kingsley's critical views and of his own creative works. In  particular, Hawley examines Kingsley's "growing anxiety to influence, an anxiety expressed in terms of the aesthetic debate of the day, but rooted in the age's religious and political questions" (168).

Literary Criticism, Kingsley's; Reception of Kingsley's Works.
 

Hawley, John C., S.J.  “Responses to Charles Kingsley's Attack on Political Economy,” Victorian Periodicals Review Vol. XIX, No. 4 (Winter 1986): 131-137.
Hawley discusses the reaction Kingsley and his political and social views received from the contemporary periodicals with particular attention to the responses during the Parson Lot and the Christian Socialist period.

Reception of Kingsley's Works; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views.

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.
 

Savory, Jerold.  “Charles Kingsley in Vanity Fair and Once a Week," Victorian Periodicals Review Vol. XIX, No. 4.  (Winter 1986): 137-140.
Savory examines cartoon caricature portraits of Kingsley that appeared in two influential journals in 1872, the literary journal Vanity Fair and the literary miscellany Once a Week.   The commentary accompanying the drawings was generally complimentary.

Cartoon Caricatures of Kingsley; Reception of Kingsley's Works.
 

Stang, Richard.  The Theory of the Novel in England 1850-1870 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959).
Stang refers to Kingsley frequently in this work. For example, he mentions George Meredith's criticism of Kingsley's excessive hortatory approach in Two Years Ago, George Eliot's similar condemnation of his didacticism and moralizing in Westward Ho!, the National Review's 1860 very severe treatment of his general novelist style and art, Blackwood's branding of Yeast as immoral. Stang also discusses Kingsley's belief that the novel should include long explanatory passages in order to educate less intelligent readers.

Novels; Reception of Kingsley's Works; Didacticism.
 

Trevor, Meriol.  Newman: Light in Winter (London: Macmillan, 1962).
Trevor examines the Kingsley-Newman controversy paying particular attention to Kingsley’s motives in instigating his attack.  He considers that Kingsley’s dislike of Newman stemmed from the early attraction Newman had for his wife Fanny who intended to join Pusey’s sisterhood.  Kingsley had to win back his wife and depose Newman’s “authoritative image” (327).  Newman was quite unaware that to Kingsley there was a particularly personal reason for linking virility with truth and cunning with virginity.  For Newman signified to Kingsley, who abhorred Catholic celibacy and the notion of women choosing virginity, “a powerful father-figure withholding desirable brides from ardent lovers by the mental bondage of the ideal of celibacy”.  This sexual connotation, according to Trevor, “explains the passionate hatred evident on every page of the pamphlet in which he set out to settle the score of twenty years” (328).  Trevor also discusses the reaction of the reviews and the periodicals to the controversy.

Newman Controversy; Catholicism; Sexuality; Celibacy; Reception of Kingsley's Works.

 

Return to Top