Henry Kingsley Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Henry Kingsley, born at Barnack, Northamptonshire, England, on January 2, 1830, was the son of an Anglican clergyman and a younger brother of Charles Kingsley, the well-known Victorian novelist. Henry Kingsley, never as successful as his older brother during his lifetime, is today given higher rank by many English critics. After some time at the King’s College School in London, Henry Kingsley went to Oxford University in 1850, to stay for three years. As a student at Oxford he was neither successful nor very conscientious, preferring to spend his time in social and athletic pursuits. He not only wasted his three academic years at the university but also ran himself seriously into debt. A timely inheritance paid off his indebtedness, and in 1853 he migrated to Australia to seek his fortune in the Australian goldfields. Unsuccessful in his search for gold, he worked at all kinds of minor jobs to make a living. While in Australia, he began to write his first novel, The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn.

Kingsley returned to England in 1858, and his novel about the Australian goldfields appeared the following year. Following its success, Kingsley, then living with his parents, began to contribute to various periodicals and wrote a second successful novel, Ravenshoe.

In 1864, Kingsley married Sarah Maria Kingsley Haselwood, a cousin, and they settled in a cottage at Wargrave, in Berkshire. Among Kingsley’s friends by that time...

(The entire section is 492 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Barnes, John. Henry Kingsley and Colonial Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.

Cripps, E. A. “Lewis Carroll and Charles and Henry Kingsley.” Jabberwocky: The Journal of the Lewis Carroll Society 9, no. 3 (1980).

Ellis, Stuart Marsh. Henry Kingsley, 1830-1876: Towards a Vindication. London: G. Richards, 1931.

Hamer, Clive. “Henry Kingsley’s Australian Novels.” Southerly 26, no. 1 (1966).

Lee, Christopher. “Representing Failure: Gender and Madness in Henry Kingsley’s The Hillyars and the Burtons.” Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association 82 (November, 1994).

Mellick, J. S. D. “Henry Kingsley and the ‘Dear Old Station’: The ‘Baroona’ of Geoffrey Hamlyn?” Australian Literary Studies 16 (October, 1993).

Mellick, J. S. D. The Passing Guest: A Life of Henry Kingsley. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983.

Scheuerle, William H. The Neglected Brother: A Study of Henry Kingsley. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1971.

Thirkell, Angela. “Henry Kingsley.” Nineteenth Century Fiction 5 (1950/1951).

Wolff, R. L. “Henry Kingsley.” Harvard University Bulletin 13 (1959).