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Philosophy Documentation Center


With the recent centenary of Newman's death attention has again been paid, in passing, to his notorious opponent Charles Kingsley ( 1819- 7 5). 1 For the last century this has largely been the case: as Kingsley's most recent biographer has noted, "It was [his] misfortune to be the fly embedded in the clear amber of his antagonist's apology" (Chitty 237). Though for Roman Catholics the 1864 controversy that led to the Apologia pro vita sua still seems to be the most interesting aspect of Kingsley's career, its unfortunate polemics must not be allowed to cloud the larger role that this Anglican cleric played in the Victorian church. Contentious and apostolic in all his many causes, Charles Kingsley was a spokesperson for a far larger group of the English than Newman ever was, and he deserves an objective assessment. This article hopes to take a step in that direction by focusing less on Newman and more on the other religious "targets" in Kingsley's scope. Their response to his attacks, though not producing a spiritual classic like the Apologia, help complete the picture of a Victorian church struggling to accommodate itself to the modern age.



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