Social and Political Views
Allen, Peter.  “Christian Socialism and the Broad Church Circle,” Dalhousie Review Vol. 49 (Spring, 1969): 58-68.
Allen discusses Kingsley’s involvement in the Christian Socialist movement of 1848-1854.  He argues that most of the Christian Socialists were members of the Broad Church circle and that political radicalism or political socialism was far from being their principal concern.  Rather, they believed that moral or educational reform of the working classes must precede political action, a viewpoint strongly adhered to by Kingsley.  Though a minority of the Christian Socialists, for example J. M. Ludlow, advocated extreme political reform, Allen suggests that the evidence indicates  “that we cannot understand Christian Socialism and its leaders if we look only to the history of political radicalism, but that the movement might appear in a new and valuable light through a thorough study of the Broad Church circle.  Rather than seeing Christian Socialism as primarily a political movement diverted from its true aims, we should, I think, see it as an outgrowth of a school of religious thought and of a certain intellectual and social group in Victorian society” (66-67).

Christian Socialism; Religion; Social and Political Views.

Baker, William J.  “Charles Kingsley on the Crimean War: A Study In Chauvinism.”  Southern Humanities Review Vol. IV, No. 3 (Summer 1970): 247-256.
Baker notes that the Crimean War was occurring while Kingsley was writing Westward Ho!, a war to which he refers over and over in this novel. Numerous aspects of this later war were similar, he believed, in many respects to the earlier war with Spain.  The chauvinism he consistently displayed during the Crimean War fostered as well as reflected the chauvinism of his contemporaries.  Moreover, Kingsley who never fought in a war had a romantic, “boy-like fantasy” view of war (254).  While in many ways, declares Baker, he was liberal, compassionate, a free-thinking cleric, a supporter of the poor, an advocate for social reform, a critic of the discriminatory class system, “his liberal sensitivity stopped at the northern edge of the English Channel”.  He combined in a contradictory stance “an insightful concern for his country's social problems alongside an uncritical bellicosity toward national foes” (255).

Westward Ho!; Crimean War; War; Chauvinism; Social and Political Views.

Beer, Max.  A History of British Socialism. Vol. II (London: Bell and Sons, 1929).
In his treatment of Christian Socialism Beer declares that Kingsley “thought the real battle of the time was not Radical or Whig against Peelite or Tory, but the Church, the gentleman, the workman against the shopkeepers and the Manchester School” (183).

Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views.

Bodenheimer, Rosemarie.  The Politics of Story in Victorian Social Fiction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988): 135-150.
Bodenheimer declares that the chaotic nature of Alton Locke is due to the novel's original composition.  It was written during 1849 and 1850 in “unchronological fragments” (135).  Kingsley displays an acute ambivalence throughout the work.  His middle class sensibility fired by class sympathy results in “something like pathology” (137).  “Alton Locke oscillates wildly between its commitment to the circumstances of working-class life and its yearning for a pastoral world, until it finally collapses into a dream vision that resolves the conflict by changing the meanings of its original terms.  In the process Kingsley inadvertently deconstructs the ideological opposition between social conflict and pastoral harmony, producing versions of pastoral that reveal on the one hand its reliance on aristocratic society and on the other its evolutionary connection with human drives to lust and power” (135).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Characterization in Novels.

Brantlinger, Patrick.  “The Case against Trade Unions in Early Victorian Fiction,” Victorian Studies Vol. XIII, No. 1 (September 1969): 37-52.
Kingsley’s reaction to the Preston Strike of 1853-54 and his views in Alton Locke, according to Brantlinger, reveal his hostility to strikes and trade unions.  The primary problem with trade unions for Kingsley is that “they are competitive rather than cooperative associations” (47).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Trade Unions.

Brantlinger, Patrick.  The Reading Lesson: The Threat of Mass Literacy in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998).
Brantlinger stresses that throughout Alton Locke Kingsley, though recognizing that the working classes are more and more literate, considers that they are not yet adequately advanced to best represent their own interests: ". . .literacy . . .is insufficient cure the social anarchy stirred up by illiterate, or at least ignorant, masses" (105).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Literacy.

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.

Brinton, Crane.  English Political Thought in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954).
Brinton provides an overview of Kingsley’s life and his major social and political views.  While his Christian Socialism was by no means a system, Kingsley held that a Christian Socialist society would indeed be hierarchical where each one's place is determined by his moral value as well as democratic in the sense that each one's place has been allotted by God.  Brinton considers that Kingsley’s ideal society was based on older English societies where different social classes “were knit together by habits which were genuine human relationships”.  His “programme is singularly like that of Tory Democracy” (125).  Kingsley’s paternalism did not signify that he rejected competition.  Competition was good but workers must first be members of cooperative associations, an ideal similar to “modern guild Socialism” (126).  While Brinton considers that Kingsley’s achievements were not insignificant, his ideals based on his religious faith could accomplish little to improve the very practical ills of working class and under-privileged society.  “His God, his virtue, his England, made too many promises to the flesh – promises unfulfilled to the common man.  For the uncommon man, his faith was even more inadequate.  Taste and intellect alike recoil from the simplicities of a universe on the pattern of Eversley” (130).

Social and Political Views; Alton Locke; Christian Socialism; Religion; Science; Evolution; Democracy; Capitalism; Teutons.

Brunskill, F. R.  “Charles Kingsley's Social Philosophy,” Primitive Methodist Quarterly Review Vol. 25 (April 1903): 340-349.
Brunskill gives an ornate account of Kingsley’s work on behalf of the poor and less privileged and discusses his social and political views.

Social and Political Views; Social and Political Novel.

Byrom, Thomas.  “Introduction” to Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet (London: Dent 1970): v-xi.
Byrom considers Alton Locke to be an ambiguous and confusing novel.  Kingsley is ambivalent about violence.  While he clearly sides with Alton and the notion of a fighting working class, he also agrees with the orderly and conservative ideals of an aristocracy enlightened by the Church.  Kingsley is surprising in leaving Catholicism relatively untouched; rather it is the dissenters, especially the Baptists, who receive a harsh criticism.  Also, the Tractarians are criticized as is Transcendentalism which Bryom considers Kingsley failed to understand properly.  Unlike Yeast which suffered from an excessive authorial presence, the autobiographical mode of Alton Locke results in a work more a novel than a tract.  Bryom concludes that Alton Locke, though entertaining, “is only a fitful success.  Reading it is rather like watching a film in which much of the footage is out of focus” (ix).  Though it is primarily to be considered a failure when compared to the works of Dickens, this is instructive.  “Alton Locke was written when English fiction enjoyed its greatest moment, and without it we should have a harder time understanding the achievement of Dickens, who in so many respects shared the conservative, reforming, doubting, bitter, compassionate sensibility of the stuttering Rector of Eversley” (x).

Alton Locke; Dissent; Transcendentalism; Dickens; Social and Political Views.

Cazamian, Louis.  The Social Novel in England 1830-1850: Dickens, Disraeli, Mrs. Gaskell, Kingsley Trans. Martin Fido (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973; first published in French in 1903).
Cazamian provides a lengthy examination of Kingsley's life and works, focusing on his Christian Socialist activities and, particularly, on how Christian Socialism is represented in his novels, Yeast and Alton Locke.  Cazamian considers Kingsley a "gifted writer" who employs these novels as a "propaganda vehicle" to describe the age's "most vital aims and ideals" (241).

Overview; Social and Political Views; Christian Socialism; Alton Locke; Yeast; Novels.

Chadwick, Owen.  "Charles Kingsley at Cambridge," The Historical Journal Vol. XVIII, No. 2 (1975): 303-325.
Chadwick examines Kingsley’s time at Cambridge both as an undergraduate and as the Regius Chair of Modern History.  In addition to considering the circumstances of his election as Professor and the reactions of University personnel and the wider community, Chadwick discusses such topics as his pedagogical abilities, the responses of the students, the content of his lectures, and his philosophy of history.  Chadwick also intersperses accounts of many of Kingsley’s views on, for example, Catholicism, Newman, science, evolution, sanitation, sexuality, muscular Christianity, together with brief treatments of some of his novels.  He concludes: “But unsophisticated, no; natural, only when he intended naturalness; innocent, not merely no but quite the opposite – who would have thought the good man to have so much blood in his fancy?  If you go along with Kingsley until you begin to know him, you wonder whether this unsubtle man was not one of the most complicated souls you ever met” (325).

Overview; Cambridge University; History Professor; History; Social and Political Views.

Chitty, Susan.  The Beast and the Monk: A Life of Charles Kingsley (New York: Mason/Charter, 1975).
For this excellent book-length biography of Kingsley Chitty had access to three hundred love letters from Kingsley to Fanny that had hithertoo not been viewed by anyone outside the family, as well as to a locked diary kept by Fanny in Nice during her year's separation from Kingsley in 1843.  The latter contained some revealing, sexually charged drawings.  Chitty declares that it is because of these new sources "that the present biography can claim to give a fuller and more intimate picture of Kingsley than any that has till now appeared" (17).

Full Book Treatment; Overview; Sexuality; Social and Political Views.

Christensen, Allan C.  “Sick Mothers and Daughters: Symptoms of Cultural Disorder in Novels by Manzoni, Dickens, Kingsley, Bulwer-Lytton, James,” RSV: Rivista di Studi Vittoriani Vol. 7, No. 4 (January 1999): 5-32.
Christensen discusses the relationship of mother and daughter in Two Years Ago in the context of  society's "sick cultural system" (6).  “The passionate reunification of mother and daughter thus comes to typify not only the event that will restore health to a particular plague-stricken culture but also the redemption of the human race” (26).

Two Years Ago; Mothers and Daughters; Females; Social and Political Views.

Colloms, Brenda. “Charles Kingsley, Poet and Social Reformer,” RSV: Rivista di Studi Vittoriani Vol. 1, No. 2 ( July 1996): 23-47.
In a lengthy article Colloms provides a sketch of Kingsley’s life, character, and works, concentrating on his poetry.  She praises in particular the “disturbing and powerful” poem “St. Maura” but declares that Kinglsey will be remembered by the general public for his shorter poems (36).  She also lauds Kingsley for having added the topic of social problems to the scope of the popular novel.

Overview; Poetry; Social and Political Views.

Cripps, Elizabeth A. "Introduction," Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet: An Autobiography (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1983): vii-xx.
Cripps introduces Alton Locke by considering the context of the troubled Chartist times in which it was both written and set.  She also briefly discusses the novel's publication history, its reception by the critics, and its representation of many of Kingsley's social and political views.  She regrets on literary grounds that Kingsley revised the Cambridge part of the novel.  Praising for the most part the characterization in the novel, Cripps also lauds its graphic depictions.

Alton Locke; Chartism; Social and Political Novel; Social and Political Views; Cambridge University; Characterization in Novels.

Cunningham, Valentine.  “Goodness and Goods: Victorian Literature and Values for the Middle Class Reader,” Proceedings of the British Academy Vol. 78 (1992): 109-27.
Cunningham considers the treatment in Victorian literature of the relationship between the good and goods, between industrialism and its societal effects, especially those on the poor.  He declares that Kingsley was conflicted by the two sides.  On the one hand, Kingsley believed that a modernizing England required industrialism.  On the other, he was adamant that those adversely affected by industry's foul effects had to be rescued.

Social and Political Views; Industrialism.

Cunningham, Valentine. "Soiled Fairy: The Water-Babies in its Time," Essays in Criticism Vol. XXXV, No. 2 (April 1985): 121-48.
Cunningham analyzes many of the causes and issues Kingsley treats with heat and hysteria in The Water-Babies declaring that they frequently coincide with the age’s heatedness and hysterias for these causes and issues.  Cunningham also discusses The Water-Babies’ various affinities to other classic fairy-story motifs.

The Water-Babies; Social and Political Views; Fairy-Story Motifs; Sanitation; Cheap Clothes and Nasty; Glaucus; Religion.

Daumas, Phillippe.  “Charles Kingsley's Style in Alton Locke,” Les Langues Modernes Vol. 63 (1969): 169-75.
Daumas argues that due to Kingsley’s conflicting views on Chartism there is a certain mystification in Alton Locke.  Though the novel seems to be an advocacy of Chartism and social reform, the reader when finished understands that it is really an espousal of charity and Christianity.  “Contrary to what one had been led to think, Alton Locke is not a tract in support of socialism, but a vindication of Kingsley’s own conception of Christianity” (169).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Social and Political Views; Religion.

Dawson, Carl. "Polemics: Charles Kingsley and Alton Locke," in his Victorian Noon: English Literature in 1850 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979): 179-202.
Dawson provides an overview of Kingsley’s character, his social and religious views, especially those on Roman Catholicism, and his involvement in and his diverse attitudes towards socialism.  He discusses Alton Locke, “perhaps one of the oddest literary documents of nineteenth-century England” (180), declaring that its recognition in modern times owes something to Kingsley’s treatment being relevant to contemporary Marxist assessments of literature.  “Kingsley articulates the sense of waste in his protagonist’s life; he equates Alton with the social upheavals of his age, setting him against middle-class virtues and assumptions; and he creates in Alton a psychic battle between social activism and pastoral escape”.  In  addition, “Alton Locke could figure in the survey that Georg Lukács, makes of the middling hero in nineteenth-century historical fiction” (201).

Overview; Social and Political Views; Religion; Catholicism; Alton Locke; Yeast.

Dottin, Françoise.  “Chartism and Christian Socialism in Alton Locke,” Politics in Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Lille: Centre d'Etudes Victoriennes, U. de Lille, 1974): 31-59.
Dottin discusses Kingsley's social and political views as represented in Alton Locke, especially those relating to Chartism and Christian Socialism, as well as his own practical endeavors in these areas. She concludes that while Kingsley is somewhat difficult to categorize, he is "neither a revolutionary nor a fawning aristocrat", and that he is best described by the two words Christian and socialist (54).

Alton Locke; Chartism; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views; Social and Political Novel.

Edwards, David Lawrence.  Leaders of the Church of England, 1828-1944 (London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).
Edwards declares that Kingsley’s courage in writing his manifesto on 10 April, 1848 at the time of the Chartist upheaval has been exaggerated.  Many other preachers and religious journalists sympathized with the social and political sentiments of Kingsley, Maurice, et al.  However, Kingsley was indeed courageous in going further than merely sympathizing with the demands of the workers.  He actually worked alongside them and “it was this that in the 1850s brought on Kingsley, and on Maurice, the wrath of the religious Tories of the Record and the Quarterly Review – and of secularists such as Karl Marx who feared competition from the Christian Socialists’ ‘holy water’” (136).

Social and Political Views; Chartism.

Faber, Richard.  Proper Stations: Class in Victorian Fiction (London: Faber and Faber, 1971).
Faber discusses Kingsley’s views on class relations focusing in particular on the novels Yeast and Alton Locke.  He also pays especial attention to a comparison and contrast of these views with those of Disraeli.  Because of his belief in a Christian Brotherhood, Kingsley was more genuinely democratic than Disraeli.  He also had less interest than Disraeli in the place of old blood and family.  Both men, however, conscious of social problems pervading the working classes, wished to improve the condition of the people through such intervention as better sanitation, increased church action, and greater involvement of the upper classes.  Still, contends Faber, both men, despite some radical sympathies, were essentially Conservatives, Kingsley becoming more conservative as he aged.  Nevertheless, Kingsley who wished that upper class qualities be more widely disseminated among all classes, was not rigid in his opinions on class, mainly due to his notion of a Christian Brotherhood.  “The ideal of Christian Brotherhood may have encouraged some illusions about existing, or impending, class relations; but it saved Kingsley from the sense of caste that oppressed so many of his contemporaries” (96).

Social and Political Views; Disraeli; Yeast; Alton Locke.

Fichter, Joseph H., S. J.  “The Socialism of a Protestant: Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)” in his Roots of Change (New York: Appleton-Century, 1939): 134-156.
Fichter reviews Kingsley’s life and principal works focusing on his social and political thought.  He is balanced in his assessment, pointing out a number of Kingsley’s faults, prejudices, and illogicalities in addition to his good qualities.  With respect to Kingsley’s changing views and specifically to his title of Christian Socialist, Fichter declares that “he was no more thoroughgoing Socialist than he was thoroughgoing Christian” (135).  Fichter briefly reviews Kingsley’s condition of England novels declaring Alton Locke to be “a tremendously effective book” (151) and the autobiographical Yeast to be badly marred by Kingsley’s intense anti-Catholic bigotry.  Fichter concludes that “the work of Charles Kingsley was on the whole a genuine contribution to the improvement of man’s relation with man.  His mistakes were the mistakes of every demagogue to tread the earth, but the hand he had in rousing social interest in English problems more than made up for them” (156).

Overview; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views; Catholicism; Alton Locke; Yeast.

Findlay, Isobel M.  "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 190: British Reform Writers, 1832-1914. Edited by Gary Kelly and Edd Applegate (Detroit: Gale, 1998): 145-159.
Findlay provides a bibliography of Kingsley’s own works, a short list of further secondary readings, an account of his life and writings with particular emphasis on his social and political views as expressed in his reformist works.  “The personal success that Charles Kingsley enjoyed within the Church and other established social institutions throughout his life did not prevent him from making important contributions to the cause of reform in England.  Although he has been often dismissed as a mere popularizer of the thinking of others, especially of Maurice, Kingsley achieved much though his parochial duties and his activities involving political organization, print culture, and education.  If he did not resolve contradictions at the heart of reform or reconstruct hierarchic notions of the healthy and unified social body, the power and particularity of his writing and public oratory nevertheless generated significant social change” (157).

Overview; Social and Political Views; Sanitation; Racial Prejudices.

Goldberg, F. S.  “Kingsley and the Social Problems of His Day,” The Westminster Review Vol. 167 (Jan. 1907): 41-49.
Goldberg provides a rather naive account of Kingsley’s work on behalf of the poor and working classes and considers his views on social problems as expressed in his novels.  Though Kingsley believed that all men are equal in the eyes of God, he was not a socialist.  Rather, while their social conditions must be alleviated, it was right that the working classes should be governed by the upper classes.

Social and Political Views; Yeast; Two Years Ago.

Gottlieb, Evan M. "Charles Kingsley, the Romantic Legacy, and the Unmaking of the Working-Class Intellectual," Victorian Literature and Culture (VLC) Vol 29, No. 1 (2001): 51-65.
Gottlieb provides an interpretation of Alton Locke that is dissimilar to many other treatments of the industrial novel in general and Kinglsey's novel in particular.  He argues that Alton Locke and the representation of the working-class poet are "safely apolitical" and in fact serve the interests of the middle classes.  The prevailing views of the narrator and novel succeed, in fact, in espousing middle-class values more than the concerns of the working classes.  "The ideological work of Alton Locke is to reassure its middle-class readers that it is not possible for a working-class person to be an intellectual and remain loyal to his class" (63).  The novel, in short, reassures middle-class readers who may be fearful of a workers' revolution.
Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Social and Political Novel; Romantic Poets; Political thought, Influences on his

Graziano, Anne.  “The Death of the Working-Class Hero in Mary Barton and Alton Locke,JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory Vol. 29, No. 2 (Spring 1999): 135-57.
Graziano discusses the status and especially the death of John Barton and Alton Locke in the novels of Gaskell and Kingsley.  On the one hand, it may appear that the authors’ aversion to extreme working class radicalism have led them to kill off their heroes out of sympathy to higher class loyalties.  However, Graziano argues that a close examination of the structure of the novel reveals a more complicated reason for the demise of Barton and Locke than the authors’ political conservatism.  “. . . it is not a turn away from a positive representational status so much as a development of early implications and contradictions that accounts for the heroes’ ‘fall’” (136-7).  The heroes’ failure and deaths “are enacted through the constraining opportunities and conventions of the genre.  And thus the politics of the moment cannot adequately explain why Gaskell and Kingsley begin with potentially viable heroes and end with corpses” (151).

Alton Locke; Gaskell  (Mary Barton); Characterization in Novels; Social and Political Views.

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.  “Baptizing the Victorian Epimetheus,”  Science et Esprit Vol. XLIII, No. 3 (1991): 349-354.
Kingsley, declares Hawley, was unusual among Victorian clerics in being an explicit advocate of technology.  However, he was also very aware of the grave social problems, especially among the working classes, brought about by technology.  Still his main criticism was directed at the spirit of competition bred by the industrial age.  Kingsley had “a complex response to technology.  He never portrayed the pursuit of technology as a meaningful life in itself; he did, however, recognize its potential for liberating men and women to engage in such a quest” (354).

Technology; Science; Social and Political Views; Religion.

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.

Hicks, Granville.  “Literature and Revolution,” The English Journal Vol. XXIV, No. 3 (March 1935): 219-239.
Hicks observes that “Kingsley made Alton Locke a plea for obedience to the church and the crown, attacking the ruthless business men, it is true, but opposing as well Chartist aspirations to working class independence” (228-9).

Social and Political Views; Alton Locke; Capitalism.

Horsman, Reginald.  “Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism in Great Britain Before 1850,” Journal of the History of Ideas Vol XXXVII, No. 3 (July-September 1976): 387-410.
Discusses Kingsley’s frequent espousal of the Teutons and their society and his belief that they regenerated a degenerate Europe at the close of the Roman Empire.  He also mentions the racial prejudices of Kingsley, admirer and defender of Rajah Brooke, and his view that some races were better off dead.  Kingsley was sanguine that the Anglo-Saxons were spreading Teutonic virtues throughout the world and in so doing were enlarging the kingdom of God.  “The reign of world peace, order, and morality was to be established by the Anglo-Saxon-Teutonic Christians, and if necessary it was to be founded on the bodies of inferior races” (410).

Social and Political Views; Racial prejudices; Teutons; Anglo-Saxons.

Jewitt, Arthur Russell.  “Charles Kingsley: An Appreciation,” Dalhousie Review Vol. 4 (July 1924): 193-202.
Jewitt provides a short general overview of Kingsley’s life and works.  He stresses what posterity owes to Kingsley’s endeavors in such areas as sanitation and the franchise and to his influence in the enactment of factory acts, workmen’s compensation acts, better poor laws, and the right to form trade unions.  However, Jewitt offers little deep analysis and less negative criticism.  His treatment is gushing and ornate as in “Charles Kingsley enriched English literature by the originality and imagination of his genius, quickened and enlivened public opinion by his life of ideal behaviour and resonant golden deeds, leaving the world better than he found it, going to his reward recognized, revered, and loved, a ‘gallant knight-errant of God’” (202)

Overview; Social and Political Views.

Jones, Tod E.  “Matthew Arnold's 'Philistinism' and Charles Kingsley,” Victorian Newsletter No. 94  (Fall 1998): 1-10.
After examining the various characteristics of Matthew Arnold’s “Philistine”, Jones discusses Kingsley’s views on each of these characteristics and their representation in English society.  He then considers whether Kingsley himself may justifiably be termed a “Philistine”.  He concludes that “Kingsley cannot be fairly regarded as a Philistine or even as an anti-intellectual.  This is not to say that he never displayed a characteristic that is typically Philistine or that he never took an anti-intellectual position, but rather it is to affirm that in Kingsley not one of the attributes of Philistinism was prevalent” (9).

Philistinism; Arnold, Matthew; Social and Political Views; Christian Socialism.

Karl, Frederick R.  An Age of Fiction: The Nineteenth Century British Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1964): 333-337.
In his treatment of Alton Locke Karl focuses on Kingsley’s social and political views.  Locke comes to believe that the Chartist goals, and all political and social aims, can only be realized if linked to Christianity, a belief earnestly held by Kingsley.  However, Karl declares that Kingsley’s argument turns into the “hollow rhetoric” of those who, fearing radical change, advise prudence (335).  The working classes must wait until others decide it is time for their equality; they must not decide for themselves.  Because of what he considers the weakness of this thesis, Karl believes that Alton Locke has a “flabby intellectual spine”.  While the novel is praised for some excellent scenes, the characters when they think or act appear “platitudinous or intellectually shallow”.  Karl’s conclusion is that Kingsley, despite his compassion for the poor, “has not worn well, but less for the old-fashioned nature of his narrative than for the intellectual assumptions behind the novel” (336).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Religion; Characterization in Novels.

Kendall, Guy.  Charles Kingsley and His Ideas (London: Hutchinson, 1947).
This book-length treatment of Kingsley in addition to providing a biographical account focuses in particular on his diverse views and ideas.

Overview; Full Book Treatment; Social and Political Views.

Kettle, Arnold.  “The Early Victorian Social-Problem Novel,” in Boris Ford (ed.) From Dickens to Hardy: A Guide to English Literature Vol. 6. 2nd ed. (London: Cassell, 1966; this ed. first published 1963): 169-187.
Yeast, according to Kettle, is a combination of Mrs. Gaskell’s naturalistic style and some of the more mystical and romantic aspects of Disraeli’s.  Though it is often categorized as a religious novel, its social rather than its religious message was responsible for its contemporary objectionable reputation.  Kettle considers Alton Locke to be a better novel than Yeast.  He praises especially its treatment of social problems and the horrendous work conditions suffered by the tailors in their sweat-shops.  Though it is clearly a “propaganda novel”, it is more than that.  “Alton Locke, for all its crudities and ‘dated’ quality, for all its lack of the sort of art and intelligence one associates with those writers conscious of ‘the novel as an art form', can still move us today” (184).

Social and Political Novel; Yeast; Alton Locke; Social and Political Views.

Kijinski, John L. “Charles Kingsley's Yeast: Brotherhood and the Condition of England,” VIJ: Victorians Institute Journal Vol. 13 (1985): 97-109.
In his analysis of the novel Yeast Kijinski declares that the novel despite its "bland didacticism" is very representative of the period, the hungry forties.  He argues that the novel also provides a strong insight into a commonly held ideological stance of the time, namely that the growing antipathy between the haves and the have-nots might be improved without force, unions, redistribution of wealth if only all social classes acted sympathetically and humanely in the true belief that everyone is a member of the same common family.
Yeast; Social and Political Novel; Social and Political Views; Catholicism.

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.

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.

Lodge, David. “Introduction” to Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet, ed. Herbert Van Thal (London: Cassell, 1967): vii-xviii.
In his introduction to Alton Locke, Lodge declares that while Kingsley shows keen sympathy for the workers' conditions of employment and general social plight, he is also critical of their general modes of reacting against established authority. This was in keeping with the tenor of his ideology for, as he aged, Kingsley abandoned his younger radical views and became increasingly an establishment figure. Still, observes Lodge, Kingsley's effort on behalf of the oppressed and deprived working poor, "of which Alton Locke is an eloquent testimony, reflects most credit upon him, and leaves him least vulnerable to the irony of a more sophisticated and more cynical age than his own" 

Alton Locke; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views; Chartism.

Martin, Robert Bernard.  The Dust of Combat: A Life of Charles Kingsley (London: Faber and Faber, 1959).
A full book biography of Kingsley with excellent critical analyses of his writings, practical works and his multifarious views and ideas.  Contains good illustrations.

Full Book Treatment; Overview; Social and Political Views.

McCausland, Elizabeth D.  “Dirty Little Secrets: Realism and the Real in Victorian Industrial Novels,” The American Journal of Semiotics Vol. 9, Nos. 2-3 (1992): 149-165.
McCausland discusses the role of sewage and its resultant illnesses in Alton Locke.  Sewage or excrement is also a metaphor for the waste produced by the rich after they consume all the surplus value created by the toil of the working classes.  Sewage is “a sign of the suffering of the poor, all that is left of them after the rich have devoured them; this suffering is a result of the very system which claims to be creating a prosperous and civilized England” (158).

Alton Locke; Sewage; Social and Political Views.

Mendilow, Jonathan.  The Romantic Tradition in British Political Thought  (Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes & Noble, 1986).
Mendilow examines aspects of Kingsley’s political philosophy and discusses some primary influences on its development: Carlyle, Shelley, Byron, Maurice, Wordsworth, Southey, Burns, Owen.  He also stresses Kingsley’s advocacy of increased State involvement in a variety of societal spheres, for example a special ministry for sanitation, broad-ranging laws regulating employer-employee relations, an emigration scheme, more State involvement in education.  For Kingsley a paternal government “would orchestrate the different sections of the people to produce the harmonious composition of a good society” (180).

Social and Political Views; Political thought, Influences on his; Carlyle; Maurice; St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Murray, Robert H. "Kingsley and Christian Socialism" in Studies in the English Social and Political Thinkers of the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, U.K.: Heffer, 1929), Vol. I, pp. 432-455.
After a brief analysis of the age's social and political context, especially the Marxist background, Murray provides an overview of Kingsley's life and works focusing in particular on his activities in the Christian Socialist sphere.

Overview; Maurice; Social and Political Views; Christian Socialism.

Peyrouton, N. C.  “Charles Dickens and the Christian Socialists. The Kingsley-Dickens Myth,” The Dickensian Vol. 58 (May 1962): 96-109.
Peyrouton examines the views and works of Kingsley and Dickens, especially their social and political opinions.  Though the two men agreed in part on various aspects of society’s ills and their appropriate solutions, their differences are as patent as their similarities. Peyrouton’s principal goal in the article is to dismiss what he terms the Kingsley-Dickens Myth, namely that Dickens through the influence of his novels established a Dickensian school of which Kingsley became an ardent disciple; that Dickens “by igniting Kingsley” helped the latter shape Christian Socialism; and that both men shared many views and ideals (96).

Dickens; Christian Socialism; Social and Political Views.

Pope-Hennessey, Una.  Canon Charles Kingsley: A Biography (New York, Macmillan, 1949).
A book-length biography.

Full Book Treatment; Overview; Social and Political Views.

Rapple, Brendan.  “The Motif of Water in Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies,” University of Mississippi Studies in English Vol. XI-XII (1993-1995): 259-71.
Kingsley uses the motif of water in The Water-Babies to preach the virtues of bathing and washing.  Cleaning the body and the inculcation of good sanitary habits is also an effective method of preventing disease. In addition, washing with water, preferably cold water, helps the attainment of moral rectitude.  “However, the depiction of water as a cleansing agent may also be viewed in an allegorical sense, namely as purifying morally and spiritually both the individual Tom as well as the collective society. Only after Tom's baptismal washing and consequent Christian rebirth does his deeply felt wish ‘I must be clean, I must be clean’ begin to be truly satisfied.  Only after an analogous allegorical cleansing can any genuine regeneration of England occur” (269).

The Water-Babies; Water Motif; Cleanliness; Sanitation; Religion; Social and Political Views.

Rauch, Alan. "The Tailor Transformed: Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke" in his Useful Knowledge: The Victorians, Morality, and 'The March of Intellect' (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001): 164-189.
Rauch argues that Kingsley intended Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet, as its name suggests, to be a novel that harmonized quite disparate themes and ideas. A staunch believer himself in the truths of religion and science and their ultimate integration, he hoped that Alton Locke's readers would also accept their reconciliation and their worth when blended as a pathway to absolute truth.  However, Rauch considers that the novel failed in this goal and that Kingsley's passionate attempt to reconcile religion and science did not satisfy and did not convince.  While Alton's own "transformation" uses language taken from science and a purpose taken from religion, neither are credible. "Because of its attempt to deal with all controversies single-handedly, Alton Locke is, in fact, a polemic and thus lacks the kind of intriguing suggestiveness that is so characteristic of" novels by Jane Webb Loudon, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Brontë that succeed in linking "science with tradition without invoking religion itself" (189).

Alton Locke; Science; Religion; Social and Political Views; Change, Notion of.

Rauch, Alan. "The Tailor Transformed: Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke and the Notion of Change," Studies in the Novel Vol. 25, No. 2 (Summer 1993): 196-213.
Rauch considers Kingsley's belief that science and religion are compatible and that the study of the former could only serve to support the teachings of faith.  Both are truth seeking activities.  Kingsley also found suggestive the parallels between transformations in the natural worlds and transformations in the spiritual spheres. It is a parallel, declares Rauch, that Kingsley adapted for the character of Alton in Alton Locke.  Kingsley is drawing on the progressive transformation of forms in the natural world when he depicts the gradual change of Alton from an atheist and political agitator to a Christian with a much moderated political reform agenda.

Science; Religion; Change, Notion of; Darwin; Alton Locke; Social and Political Views.

Schilling, Bernard N.  “Kingsley,” in Human Dignity and the Great Victorians (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946): 96-122.
Schilling examines Kingsley's work as a humanitarian and his efforts to dignify the life of England's poor.  "Kingsley achieved a working synthesis between his religion and his radicalism; he made it seem as if he had to be a humanitarian reformer because of the implications which he saw in religion, not in spite of them" (96).  Schilling discusses Kingsley's work on behalf of sanitary reform and his campaign against the terrible conditions of the sweated tailoring trade, stressing Kingsley's belief that many societal problems had their underlying cause in laissez-faire capitalism. He also considers Kingsley's advocacy of popular medical instruction and of cooperative movements, his plans to make art, amusement, country life and education more available to the public, and his staunch promotion of public education.  Though Kingsley became increasingly conservative and came to embrace a form of feudalism as he aged, Schilling concludes that he "bore the mark of all great humanitarians - the union of compassion, humaneness, and optimism" (122).

Overview; Sanitation; Social and Political Views; Religion; Education; Christian Socialism.

Semmel, Bernard.  “The Issue of 'Race' in the British Reaction to the Morant Bay Uprising of 1865,”  Caribbean Studies Vol. 2, No. 3 (October 1962): 3-15.
In his examination of the British reaction to the Governor Eyre controversy in Jamaica, Semmel briefly discusses the support of Kingsley, a racial bigot, for the Governor’s actions in brutally suppressing the black uprising.  Semmel also mentions the view of Kingsley, clearly influenced by Carlyle, that blacks together with the Irish and the English working classes were congenitally inferior and totally unsuited for the suffrage and self-government.

Eyre, Governor; Social and Political Views; Racial Prejudices.

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.

Thorp, Margaret Farrand.  Charles Kingsley 1819-1875 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1937).
A well-documented book-length biography and analysis of Kingsley's diverse ideas and views.  Contains a good bibliography of Kingsley's own writings.

Full Book Treatment; Overview; Social and Political Views.

Vernon, Sally.  “Trouble Up at t’Mill: The Rise and Decline of the Factory Play in the 1830s and 1840s,” Victorian Studies Vol. XX, No. 2 (Winter 1977): 117-139.
Vernon declares that Kingsley found objectionable the popular dramatists who catered to working class tastes and abhorred, as he reveals in Alton Locke, such popular theaters as the Victoria Theatre.  However, many of these playwrights in their melodramas wrote about such working class problems as poverty, social discord, industrial conflict, appalling factory conditions, themes dealt with by Kingsley himself in his novels.  “The result during the 1830s and 1840s was a small but significant body of plays dealing explicitly with factory conditions, and in some cases delineating those conditions with a stark realism that compares well with and complements the rather different approach of the industrial novelists of the 1840s” (118).

Alton Locke; Social and Political Views; Factory Play.

Vulliamy, Colwyn E.  "Charles Kingsley and Christian Socialism," in Writers and Rebels: From the Fabian Biographical Series, ed. by Michael Katanka (London: Knight, 1976; Totowa, N. J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), 159-191 (first published as a Fabian Tract in 1914).
Vulliamy examines Kingsley’s views as a socialist as they developed and changed throughout his life, paying particular attention to his connection with Chartism, his work in sanitation, his socialist publications, and his activities in the Christian Socialist movement.  Vulliamy stresses that Kingsley the socialist was extremely constitutional and on no account revolutionary.  In addition, he accepted the system of social classes as divinely ordained and were not be changed.  The pervasive social ills were to be blamed on the individual not the class.  He concludes that “Kingsley’s power is to be found, not in the startling or original nature of his views, but in his manly and uncompromising advocacy of those views, and in the example of a most living and vigorous personality” (189).

Overview; Social and Political Views; Chartism; Christian Socialism.

Ward, A. W. and A. R. Waller (eds.). The Cambridge History of English Literature Vol. XIII, Part II  (New York, Putnam’s Sons, 1917): 392-410.
This is an overview of Kingsley's life and works with particular focus on his novels.  Kingsley's strong imagination and vivid descriptive style are singled out for especial praise.

Overview; Social and Political Views; Novels.

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.

Williams, A. R. "Alton Locke by Charles Kingsley (1850)," East London Papers Vol. 13 (Summer 1970): 36-40.
Williams counts Kingsley among those Victorian writers who sought to reveal in their works society’s evils to indifferent and oblivious middle and upper classes.  In particular, Alton Locke is important for “historians of London’s East End because it portrays vividly and, as far as one can tell, reliably, the conditions of the sweated tailors of this district in the middle of the nineteenth century” (37).  Williams sees Kingsley as more than just a depicter of societal problems.  As a solution Kingsley advocated three prongs of attack: the masses’ self-improvement through education, organization in trade unions, and governmental reform.

Social and Political Novel; Alton Locke; Social and Political Views.

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