Westward Ho!
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.
 

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; Overview; Carlyle; Maurice; Yeast; Alton Locke; Two Years Ago; Hypatia; Westward 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.

Morris, William; Saint’s Tragedy, The; Hypatia; Alton Locke; Westward Ho!; Yeast; Celibacy; Social 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!, Two Years Ago, and The Water-Babies.
Overview; Devon; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; The Water-Babies.
 

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 actual stories.

France, Critical Reception in; Alton Locke; Yeast; Westward 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).

Muscular Christianity; Manliness; Fatherhood; The Water-Babies; Westward-Ho!.
 

Harris, Styron.  “The 'Muscular Novel': Medium of a Victorian Ideal,” Tennessee Philological Bulletin Vol. 27 (1990): 6-13.
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 Tom 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).

Muscular Christianity; Hughes, Thomas; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward the Wake.
 

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.
 

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, Westward 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).

Religion; Sexuality; Celibacy; Hypatia; Westward Ho!.
 

Melville, Lewis.  “The Centenary of Charles Kingsley,” Contemporary 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 indeed” (674).

Overview; Poetry; Characterization 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).

Westward Ho!; Moral Lessons; Females; Characterization in Novels.
 

Newby, Richard L.  “Wilkie Collins's Man and Wife: Kingsley's Athlete Scouted,” McNeese Review Vol. 26 (1979-80): 47-54.
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.

Collins, Wilkie; Athleticism; Hereward the Wake, Two Years Ago; Westward Ho!
 
 

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.

Westward Ho!; Devon; Cornwall.
 

Peck, John.  War, the Army and Victorian Literature (Basingstoke, 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" (125).

War; Westward 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).

Overview; Children; Glaucus; Westward Ho!; Heroes, The; The Water-Babies; Hereward the Wake; Madam How and Lady Why.
 

Roberts, R. Ellis.  “Charles Kingsley (1819-1875),” Bookman 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).

Overview; Westward Ho!
 

Schiefelbein, Michael.  “'Blighted' by a 'Upas-Shadow': Catholicism’s Function for Kingsley in Westward 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).

Westward Ho!; Religion; Catholicism; Virgin Mary; Muscular Christianity; Sexuality; Manliness.
 

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, 1983): 195-207.
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” (206).

Overview; Novels; Alton Locke; Yeast; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hypatia; Hereward the Wake.
 

Sedgwick, John Hunter.  "A Mid-Victorian Nordic,” North 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).

Westward Ho!; Nordicism.
 

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.
 

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.

Geology; Science; Change, Notion of; Progress; Language; Alton Locke; Westward Ho!; Hereward the Wake.
 

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.

Westward Ho!; Macmillan’s; Publication.
 

Vance, Norman.  The Sinews of the Spirit: The Ideal of Christian Manliness in Victorian Literature and Religious Thought (Cambridge: 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).

Overview; Yeast; Alton Locke; Hypatia; Westward Ho!; Two Years Ago; Hereward the Wake; Muscular Christianity; Manliness; Newman Controversy.
 

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.

 

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