The new Victorian Studies (Winter 2007), and included in it is my review of J. M. I. Klaver’s The Apostle of the Flesh: A Critical Life of Charles Kingsley (Brill, 2006).Â Here’s the first graf:
In 1872, Vanity Fair remarked that “Time and opinions move so fast that it is difficult to recall the period, though it is really so recent, when the Rev. Charles Kingsley, sometime author of ‘Alton Locke’ and now Chaplain to the Queen [ . . . ] was one of the most daring and advanced revolutionists of his cloth” (qtd. in Klaver 472; Klaver’s ellipsis).Â Vanity Fair omits many reasons why Kingsley might fascinate modern Victorianists: his complex emphasis on manliness, masculinity, and the body; his immersion in scientific projects (sanitation reform) and debates; his jingoism and sense of national mission, even when these sanctioned brutal or near-genocidal violence; the conflict with John Henry Newman; his children’s books, especially The Water Babies (1863); and his interest in sexual satisfaction within marriage as an almost sacramental blessing.Â And yet all too frequently, knowledge of Kingsley can devolve into the following series: muscular Christian; self-destructive combatant with Newman; author of Alton Locke (1850) and The Water Babies, plus a few other works.Â J. M. I. Klaver’s The Apostle of the Flesh seeks to restore Kingsley to a more central place in the Victorian period.
Interested parties without access to Victorian Studies can e-mail me for the review.Â My edition of Kingsley’s Alton Locke is due to Broadview in a mere six weeks!