Henry Kingsley : a biography

Mellick, John Stanton Davis (1978). Henry Kingsley : a biography PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mellick, John Stanton Davis
Thesis Title Henry Kingsley : a biography
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1978
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Prof K.G. Hamilton
Prof K.L. Goodwin
Total pages 488
Language eng
Subjects 2005 Literary Studies
420201 British and Irish
Formatted abstract

Although the outlines of Henry Kingsley's life have been long available, the detail which comprised that life has been lacking. This dissertation attempts to remedy that situation as far as possible using material newly unearthed during my research. This includes 118 letters written by Henry Kingsley and previously unknown, as well as three poems, four short stories, three articles, and three reviews which can now be attributed to him. Letters and documents found in libraries in the United States of America, Britain, and Australia, place the extant material in new perspective and new light is thrown, also, on Kingsley the writer, especially on the closeness of his experiences to his fiction.

My discovery of the Kingsley Family Bible, and the proof copy of F.E. Kingsley's second volume (abridged) of her biography, Charles Kingsley, has enabled Kingsley's childhood to be more accurately recorded. One of F.E. Kingsley's glosses shows conclusively that Kingsley's parents were unpredictable in their treatment of their children and Kingsley's early life now appears to have been extremely insecure.

His alleged service in the Australian Mounted Police has never been substantiated and evidence from the Archives of the New South Wales Police Department severely challenges this possibility. Then, again, Kingsley's marriage—regarded as an illconsidered step—is now shown by a letter of his nephew, Maurice, to have been undertaken in order to avoid a threat of being "exposed" by Mrs. Hazelwood, his future mother-in-law.

Columns of The Daily Review, containing Kingsley's despatches from the Franco-Prussian War, and a long neglected article, "The Influence of Travel," contain evidence which demolishes the legend of his romantic attitude to such realities.

Then, too, the place where Henry Kingsley wrote his first novel. The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn, long a matter of conjecture is firmly established in some of the newly discovered letters. The same source, too, not only reveals that Kingsley, himself, censored material considered an embarrassment to a "drawing room full of young ladies" at the behest of his father, and his brother, Charles Kingsley, but, also that the creation of a happy ending in the novel, and the deletion of sombre scenes, resulted from pressure by Macmillan.

The family's genealogy, when studied closely in the context of all the other material brought to light shows more clearly that the family's image of itself in relation to its direct forbears and its believed inheritance was, in one sense, illusory.

The resources, then, of archives, libraries, club records, newspapers, and privately owned material provide a new and better understanding of Henry Kingsley as man and writer. Certainly, it was only in Australia that Kingsley found his essential self and began to express it significantly in his writing.

Keyword Kingsley, Henry, 1830-1876 -- Biography

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Wed, 04 Jul 2012, 15:29:08 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service