|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
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).
and Political Views.
Baldwin, Stanley E. Charles
Kingsley (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1934).
This is a book length treatment of Kingsley's life and works.
After chapters providing a brief biography, a discussion of the background
of the novels, and a consideration of the influence of Carlyle and Maurice,
Baldwin devotes separate chapters to each of the novels: Yeast, Alton
Locke, Two Years Ago, Hypatia, Westward Ho!, and Hereward the Wake.
Baldwin is measured in his assessment, though he still finds much to praise
in Kingsley's diverse literary endeavors. Nevertheless, he considers Kingsley
the man as more prominent than his literature. "Some men's writings
are the greatest part of them, and posterity studies their lives through
a spirit of curiosity excited by their works. In a sense this is
true of Kingsley, but in a truer sense many are reading Kingsley's literary
works because of the indelible impression his personality made upon his
fellow men, for whom, in all his activities, he labored. His life
in itself was a poem of deep lyric passion" (194).
Full Book Treatment;
Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia;
Ho!; Hereward the Wake.
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.
Tragedy, The; Hypatia;
Locke; Westward Ho!; Yeast;
and Political Views.
Chitty, Susan. Charles Kingsley’s Landscape
(Newton Abbot; North Pomfret, Vt.: David and Charles, 1976).
The first part of this work is essentially a biography of Kingsley
with particular focus on the places he lived and visited, especially those
in Devon. Most of the second part is an examination of the places, again
mainly in Devon, mentioned in his works, particularly Westward Ho!,
Years Ago, and The Water-Babies.
Ho!; Two Years Ago; The
Devonshire, M. G. The English Novel in France:
1830-1870 (New York: Octagon Books, 1967).
Devonshire discusses the reception of Alton Locke, Yeast, Westward
Ho!, and Two Years Ago in France during the third quarter of
the nineteenth century and provides short extracts from some of the reviews.
The French, declares Devonshire, did indeed praise Kingsley for the literary
value of the novels, though they objected to the excessive sermonizing.
However, the main interest of the French lay in the novels’ social, political,
and historical background and their attitude to reform rather than in the
France, Critical Reception
in; Alton Locke; Yeast;
Ho!; Two Years Ago.
Fasick, Laura. “The Failure of Fatherhood: Maleness
and Its Discontents in Charles Kingsley,” Children's Literature Association
Quarterly Vol. 18, No. 3 (Fall 1993): 106-111.
Fasick declares that Kingsley's ideal of hyper-masculinity coexisted
with his recognition of the need of such moral qualities of humility, gentleness,
and patience. However, she contends that Kingsley, who tended to
prize the former ideal more highly, found it difficult to combine these
two distinct spectra and certainly failed to illustrate their union in
his novels. "Despite his homage to gentleness and patience, Kingley's
real attraction is apparently to the displays of power and aggression with
which he adorns his novels" (109).
Christianity; Manliness; Fatherhood;
Harris, Styron. “The 'Muscular Novel': Medium
of a Victorian Ideal,” Tennessee Philological Bulletin Vol. 27 (1990):
Harris discusses the notion of “muscular Christianity”. It is
epitomized in three dominant figures of the novels: Amyas Leigh in Westward
Ho!, Tom Thurnall in Two Years Ago, and Hereward in Hereward
the Wake. Harris also discusses Kingsley’s influence on Thomas
Hughes and on Hughes’s portrayal of muscular Christianity in his novels
Brown’s Schooldays, The Scouring of White Horse, and Tom Brown at
Oxford. Both novelists took care to distinguish the muscular
Christian from one who is mere muscle and both abhorred the hero of George
Alfred Lawrence’s novel Guy Livingstone who personified “muscularity
without Christianity or moral considerations”. Nevertheless, Harris
agrees with David Newsome that despite their broader meaning of muscular
Christianity, “the muscular novel according to Kingsley and Hughes contributed
to the immense vogue of athletics from the late sixties onwards” (11).
Christianity; Hughes, Thomas; Westward
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
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).
Socialism; Maurice; Religion;
and Political Views;
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
Maynard, John. “Victorian Discourses on Sexuality
and Religion,” University of Hartford Studies in Literature Vol.
19, Nos 2 & 3 (1987): 61-69.
For Kingsley, according to Maynard, religion and sexuality are thoroughly
intermingled. His dislike of Newman stemmed in large part from his
strong aversion to religious celibacy. However, all forms of sexual
license for Kingsley was anathema.. The proper place for sexuality
was within marriage, with only one marriage in a lifetime. “Celibacy
is religion without sex; licentiousness, sex without religion. The
via media for Kingsley, married religious sexuality, allows one unified
discourse: married sexuality repairs the Fall and leads us from earth to
heaven, which is only more – and more intensely – of the same” (63).
Kingsley also depicts competing types of sexuality in certain of his writings.
For example, in Hypatia the struggle between the intellectual views
of different religious groups in 5th century Alexandria may be seen as
just as much a competition of opposite sexual styles. Similarly,
Ho! may be understood from the standpoint of opposite sexual religious
world views as the conflict “between chaste, successful Protestants and
lewd, unsuccessful Spanish Catholics” (64).
Melville, Lewis. “The Centenary of Charles Kingsley,”
Review Vol. 115 (June 1919): 670-674.
Melville’s appreciation of Kingsley’s life and works contains little
that he did not write in his 1906 Victorian Novelists. However,
he is more certain this time that Westward Ho! is Kingsley’s best
work. “The deeds of derring–do in the South Seas and on the Spanish
Main, and the story of the defeat of the great Armada are admirably told,
and are comparable with similar episodes in the best works of any other
author. There Kingsley is at his best, and his best is very good
in Novels; Westward Ho!.
Muller, Charles H. “Westward Ho! -- Sermon
in the Guise of Adventure,” UNISA English Studies Vol. 23,
No. 1 (1985): 15-20.
Muller argues that Kingsley’s primary purpose in Westward Ho! was
a moral one, the reinforcement of English Protestant values. The adventure
story was clearly secondary to the delineation of the characters’ virtues
and sins. In addition to Kingsley’s own sermonizing commentary, the
characters epitomize Christian and moral purpose. For example, Eustace
personifies moral failure, Amyas typifies perfect Christian ideals.
Such themes as self-rule, personal or self sacrifice, and divine providence
pervade the novel. Muller also stresses the important virtuous and
moral qualities as depicted in the novel’s women characters, Amyas’s mother,
Mrs Leigh, Rose Salterne, Ayacanora. Kingsley’s message, according
to Muller, “to all his masculine readers is, to value the spiritualising
love of woman; and to his women readers, to emulate the spiritual example
of this perfect Christian woman” (20).
Newby, Richard L. “Wilkie Collins's Man and
Wife: Kingsley's Athlete Scouted,” McNeese Review Vol. 26 (1979-80):
Newby discusses Wilkie Collins's castigation in his 1869-70 Man
and Wife of Kingsley's vaunted athleticism. He provides numerous reasons
for Collins's dislike of Kingsley, ranging from the latter's status as
a most respectable Establishment figure to Kingsley's denigration of the
importance of the intellect. Collins viewed this anti-intellectualism as
being closely connected to Kingsley's athleticism especially as advocated
in the three novels Hereward the Wake, Two Years Ago, and Westward
Ho!. Man and Wife's propagandizing against athleticism
is Collins's retaliation.
the Wake, Two Years Ago; Westward
Nichols, May Ellis. “In Kingsley-Land,” Book
News Monthly Vol. 25 (June 1907): 670-674.
Nichols describes a “pilgrimage” she took through the West Country
following in the footsteps of Amyas Leigh and others from Westward Ho!
and visiting the scenes depicted in the novel.
Peck, John. War, the Army and Victorian Literature
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"
Ho!; Hereward the Wake; Imperialism.
Rapple, Brendan A. "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 163: British Children's Writers, 1800-1880.
Edited by Meena Khorana (Detroit: Gale 1996): 136-147.
Following the usual format of the DLB, a bibliography of Kingsley’s
own works is followed by an account of his life interspersed with an analysis
of his writings, in this case his works for children. A short secondary
bibliography is appended. Several illustrations are also provided.
Rapple’s assessment: “Tastes change, and it is not surprising that modern
children eschew works intended for their Victorian ancestors. The
Heroes has been supplanted by other retellings of the Greek tales;
the science of Glaucus and Madam How and Lady Why no longer
has appeal, and today's youth would reject the books’ pervasive social
commentary, sermonizing, and didacticism. Nor is Westward Ho!
read much by present-day youngsters, though it is still available in a
children's edition. The significant exception has been the consistently
high readership, especially in the United Kingdom, for The Water-Babies,
of which there are probably more editions, adaptations, and abridgements
in print today than in Kingsley's own time. The work’s simplicity,
brilliant fantasy, and affection for the young, despite its frequent preaching,
still capture the devotion of children. It is The Water-Babies,
though its author would never have foretold it, that will ensure Kingsley
a high rank in the history of children's literature” (146).
Ho!; Heroes, The; The
Water-Babies; Hereward the Wake;
How and Lady Why.
Roberts, R. Ellis. “Charles Kingsley (1819-1875),”
Vol. 56 (June 1919): 97-102.
Roberts provides an overview of Kingsley’s life and works. He
considers Westward Ho! to be Kingsley’s most satisfactory novel
and The Water-Babies his “best book” praising in particular the
latter’s story and songs. Roberts also briefly mentions the Newman
controversy, declaring that Kingsley’s inability to understand Newman was
due to more than his distaste for the Roman Church. Rather, Kingsley
“had long ago closed his mind to the idea that truth was not the possession
of the English nation as expressed by the English Church. He had
never pursued truth wherever it led as had Newman” (97).
“'Blighted' by a 'Upas-Shadow': Catholicism’s Function for Kingsley in
Ho!,” Victorian Newsletter Vol. 94 (Fall 1998): 10-17.
Schiefelbein examines Kingsley's severe characterizations
of Catholics in Westward Ho!, especially two of his keenest bete
noires, Catholics' worship of the Virgin Mary and Catholicism's embrace
of asceticism and condemnation of the flesh. Kingsley, advocate of
muscular Christianity and espouser of manliness, detested what he considered
to be effeminate "Mariolatry" which was responsible for weakness and womanishness
in society. He also condemned the asceticism of the Jesuits Parsons
and Campion which he held to be an unnatural rejection of God-given impulses.
They were "spiritual grotesques" (15). However, Schiefelbein also
argues that Kingsley reveals his own ascetic impulses and his attraction
to monkish ways in Westward Ho! and reconciles the opposite pulls
of asceticism and carnal and sexual nature. Schiefelbein concludes
that while "one may certainly object to the role Kingsley assigns to Catholicism
. . . it becomes an effective foil for enlightening his readers - and,
very likely, for reminding himself - of the dangers of Manicheanism" (16).
Mary; Muscular Christianity;
Scott, Patrick. "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 21. Victorian Novelists Before
1885. Edited by Ira B. Nadel and William E. Fredeman (Detroit: Gale,
This follows the usual format of the DLB. A bibliography
of Kingsley’s own works is followed by an account of his life interspersed
with an analysis of his major writings, in this case his novels.
A short secondary bibliography is appended. Several illustrations
are also provided. Scott sums up Kingsley the novelist as follows:
‘If Kingsley never wrote a great work or an unflawed masterpiece, he can
now, in light of the new biographical evidence, be recognized as a writer
of considerable psychological complexity, one who produced searching and
imaginative responses to some of the central issues of the late 1840s”
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hypatia;
Sedgwick, John Hunter. "A Mid-Victorian Nordic,”
American Review Vol. CCXXV (Jan. 1928): 86-93.
Sedgwick writes that Westward Ho! is an old-fashioned work displaying
“beautiful, unabashed Nordicism” (87). Kingsley’s reasoning is simple.
“All the people in Westward Ho! who do good things are British and
belong to the Established Church; ergo, there is only one shop to go to,
and that is Britain, and the Established Church comes second” (88).
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
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).
Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia;
Ho!; Social and Political
Stitt, Megan Perigoe. Metaphors of Change in the
Language of Nineteenth-Century Fiction: Scott, Gaskell, and Kingsley (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1998).
During the nineteenth century the study of language and linguistic
analysis shared with geology certain metaphors for describing change and
theories of progress. This book analyses how Kingsley, Walter Scott, and
Elizabeth Gaskell treated language and particularly dialect in their novels.
From textual study of the novels and an analysis of the language of contemporary
science, Stitt explores how different genres affected the Victorian age’s
use of metaphor and its frequently conflicting theories of progress.
Notion of; Progress; Language;
Locke; Westward Ho!; Hereward
Sutherland, J. A. “Westward Ho! ‘A Popularly
Successful Book’” in his Victorian Novelists and Publishers (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1976): 117-132.
Sutherland discusses the publication process of Westward Ho! and
Kingsley’s relationship with its publisher Macmillan's. “The result
of the collaboration was one of the most remarkable bestsellers of the
century” (122). Though the novel, according to Sutherland, benefited
from the moderating influence of the publisher, many readers were disturbed
by certain elements, above all its pathology and violence.
Vance, Norman. The Sinews of the Spirit: The
Ideal of Christian Manliness in Victorian Literature and Religious Thought
Cambridge University Press, 1985).
Vance devotes two chapters to Kingsley's life, thought, and literary
works paying particular attention to themes of the relationship of manliness
to religion in his novels. "Christian manliness was not just an ideal
in Kingsley's fiction, it was the basis of his practical work as pastor,
teacher and reformer and the essence of his life and experience" (107).
Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward
the Wake; Muscular Christianity;
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):
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).
Prejudices; Social and Political