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Kingsley’s Cataclysmic Method

Kingsley’s Cataclysmic Method

(p.179) Chapter Five Kingsley’s Cataclysmic Method
Novel Science
Adelene Buckland
University of Chicago Press

Charles Kingsley had a great deal of interest in geological science. His work provides direct links to the gentleman geologist who had pioneered its “heroic age.” Kingsley secured honorary membership upon his founding of the Society of Natural Science, where scientific instruction was delivered to the middle-class men of Chester. He was later greatly influenced by Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, whereby his studies on geology interrogated his practice as a novelist. His fictional heroes were practitioners of geology, from Yeast's Lancelot Smith, to Alton Locke in the 1850 novel of the same name. This seeping of his scientific musing with the craft of literature brought about the censure of Kingsley's work in literary criticism for it seemed he was more interested in making statements than the conventions of plot. This chapter explores Kingsley's works and how they have influenced the development of geology.

Keywords:   geologists, Charles Kingsley, Society of Natural Science, Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, Yeast, Lancelot Smith, Alton Locke, literary criticism

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