1st Edition

Charles Kingsley Faith, Flesh, and Fantasy

Edited By Jonathan Conlin, Jan Marten Ivo Klaver Copyright 2021
    284 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Novelist, poet, Anglican priest, and controversialist, Charles Kingsley (1819–75) epitomizes the bustling Victorian man of faith and letters, a prolific polymath as ready to break a lance with John Henry Newman over Christian doctrine as he was to preach to schoolchildren on the virtues of manly, physical struggle. Kingsley’s The Water-Babies and Westward Ho! were best-sellers which became classics of children’s literature. Kingsley has come to epitomize the Victorian age.

    On closer inspection, Kingsley is harder to categorize: a socialist who was also an imperialist, a Chartist revolutionary who was Queen Victoria’s favourite novelist, a natural theologian who popularized Darwin, a priest who celebrated sex as sacrament. Kingsley only appears straightforward if you consider him one piece at a time. The debates he shaped remain with us today: faith and sexuality, economics and exploitation, race and identity. The aim of this book is to present the whole man: to consider the public crusades for public health alongside the most private fantasies of sexual intercourse; to consider the ardent imperialist alongside the Darwinist. It will be of interest to all students of Victorian studies, as well as of British/Imperial history, church history, and especially the history of science.

    Foreword: Amyas and Me: A Personal History of Charles Kingsley

    John Sutherland

    Introduction: Charles Kingsley: "The Most Typical Victorian of Them All"

    Jan Marten Ivo Klaver and Jonathan Conlin

    1. "Love Me! Baby! Love God!": Courtship, Marriage, and the Emergence of a Kingsleyan Ascetics, 1839–1845

    Jonathan Conlin

    2. A "Yeasty State of Mind": Charles Kingsley and the Problem of Self-Culture

    Richard Salmon

    3. "To Amuse Merely as a Novel": Alton Locke (1850) and Literary Pleasure

    Francis O’Gorman

    4. Effeminate: Kingsley and the History of an Epithet

    James Eli Adams

    5. How Odd is Kingsley’s Hypatia?

    Simon Goldhill

    6. The Fly in the Amber: The Controversy with Newman

    Jan Marten Ivo Klaver

    7. Kingsley’s Muscular Poetics

    Herbert F. Tucker

    8. Kingsley’s Old Testament Heroes

    Gareth Atkins

    9. Charles Kingsley and the Evolution of Man and Morals in The Water-Babies

    Piers J. Hale

    10. Evolutionary and Anglican Afterlives: Death as a Sacrament in Kingsley’s Water Babies

    Alan Rauch

    11. Kingsley on Race and Empire

    Theodore Koditschek

    12. Kingsley and the Irish

    Norman Vance

    13. Histories and Historians

    Leslie Howsam

    Afterword: Charles Kingsley as Polymath

    Bernard Lightman


    Jonathan Conlin is senior lecturer in modern history at the University of Southampton.

    Jan Marten Ivo Klaver is professor of English Literature and culture at the University of Urbino.