Though widely attested to, Charles Kingsley's influence on Victorian views about race, history, and definitions of the British nation has been subjected to few detailed analyses. The analyses that have been advanced, moreover, fail to take into account a major source for Kingsley's thinking on these subjects: the theocentric and thoroughly racialized historicism of the Liberal Anglicans, who contributed importantly to mid-century debates about race, history, and the nation. This paper examines how Kingsley's appropriation of the Liberal Anglican historical thesis, in particular in the form given it by Christian Socialist leading light F. D. Maurice, inflected his attempts to redefine the British racial-national collective as part of his effort to provide an imagined resolution to present woes during the first half of the 1850s. Focusing on Kingsley's novels of that period, Alton Locke (1850), Hypatia (1853), and Westward Ho! (1855), the paper argues that the success of this endeavor was contingent on Kingsley's ability to formulate a suitable narrative vehicle for his Maurician thesis. His turn to the remote past in Hypatia, the paper argues, was instrumental in enabling him to create such a vehicle, which I term racial-historical allegory, and which he carries over to Westward Ho! The conflicted uses to which history is put in the latter novel, however, causes the racial-historical allegorical form to be steadily eclipsed over the course of the novel, though paradoxically, the paper concludes, the various ambivalences and insconsistencies with which Kingsley's thought and writings are so patently rife actually constituted some of their apparent strengths in his own day (or were at least inseparable from those strengths).
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