|Smith, Sheila M. “Blue Books and Victorian Novelists,”
Review of English Studies, New Ser. Vol. XXI (1970): 23-40.
Smith considers the use by Kingsley and Disraeli in Yeast and Sybil respectively of the 1843 Blue book, Report on the Employment of Women and Children in Agriculture. Echoing his brother-in-law Sir Sidney Godolphin Osborne who had supplied evidence for the Report, Kingsley in Yeast rejects the common romantic depiction of the countryside as beautiful and idyllic especially when contrasted with the ugliness and squalor of industrial cities. Smith also declares that Kingsley in common with other Victorian novelists used the content of Blue books to express ideals and spiritual truths. In writing of the misery and dreadfulness of rural areas, Kingsley "expressed his belief in man's responsibility for his brother, gave the lie to romantic, idealized descriptions of the countryside, and suggested the way in which the Christian Church can help redeem society" (39).