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About Charles Kingsley
Books by Charles Kingsley
Author, Charles Kingsley -  © Mary Evans Picture Library
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Charles Kingsley

About Charles Kingsley

An Interview with Charles Kingsley

More About Charles Kingsley

Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) led quite a wild life at university but, in 1842, he followed in his father’s footsteps and was ordained as a priest. He was a Christian Socialist and spent his life campaigning for such things as better education for girls, and improving the living conditions of the working class. Victorian society was very inflexible and Kingsley was soon branded as a radical. His patriotic attitude to the Crimean War (1854 – 6), made him acceptable again and he became Chaplain to Queen Victoria. Later, royal influence led to his appointment as a Professor of History at Cambridge University. During his ‘out of favour’ years he was a devoted priest in Hampshire and put his beliefs into practice. His work as a parish priest and his lecture tours as a Christian Socialist, always came first, leaving his writing to take second place.

As was common among Victorian writers, Kingsley often used his writing to give a social message. What made him different and special was his ability to tell good stories and to write them with real skill, taking them above the level of social tracts. The Water Babies

is still his best known title. It tells the story of Tom, a badly treated ‘climbing boy’ (a chimney sweep), who escapes to find adventure as a Water Baby in an underwater land.

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Author Image: Charles Kingsley - © Mary Evans Picture Library