Kingsley, Charles

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kingsley, Charles

Charles Kingsley, 1819–75, English author and clergyman. Ordained in 1842, he became vicar of Eversley in Hampshire in 1844. From 1848 to 1852 he published tracts advocating Christian socialism. These views were embodied in his first two novels, Alton Locke (1850) and Yeast (1851), both of which deal with contemporary social problems. In his subsequent novels, including Hypatia (1853), Westward Ho! (1855), and Hereward the Wake (1866), he used historical settings to communicate his ideas. A statement denigrating the Roman Catholic clergy, made by Kingsley in an article, started a controversy with John Henry Newman that resulted in Newman's famous Apologia. In 1859, Kingsley was made chaplain to Queen Victoria. From 1860 to 1869 he was professor of modern history at Cambridge and in 1873 was appointed canon of Westminster. Several collections of his sermons were published during his lifetime. Included among his other notable work is the well-known children's book The Water Babies (1863).

See Letters and Memories (ed. by his wife, 2 vol., 1877, repr. 1973); biographies by M. F. Thorp (1937, repr. 1969), U. Pope-Hennessy (1948, repr. 1973), and B. Colloms (1975); study by A. J. Hartley (1981); S. Harris, Charles Kingsley: A Reference Book (1981).

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