|Prickett, Stephen. “Adults in Allegory Land:
Kingsley and MacDonald,” in his Victorian Fantasy (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1979): 150-197.
Prickett provides a lengthy examination of The Water-Babies comparing and contrasting it with several allegorical fantasies of George MacDonald. Among other topics, he discusses the extent to which Kingsley was influenced by Wordsworth regarding his view of nature and his attitude to childhood, as well as by Rabelais. He also examines Platonism, religion, evolution, and the nature of allegory in The Water-Babies. Prickett declares that Kingsley and MacDonald have quite distinct mental sets. “Kingsley, the botanist, marine biologist and historian is fascinated by every minute detail of this world; ‘other’ worlds are constructs – telling us yet more about this. MacDonald is a temperamental Platonist, only interested in the surface of this world for the news it gives him of another, hidden reality, perceived, as it were, through a glass darkly” (193).