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ID 43767
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Writing an Unintelligible Story: The Water-Babies and Kingsley, the Stammerer <Articles>
creator
Fukuda, Yasuhisa
NDC
English and American literature
abstract
In treating his stammering, Charles Kingsley equally built a good relationship with James Hunt and also with God himself. In the article contributed to Fraser’s Magazine in 1859, Kingsley seemed to try to cure his own stammering not only with a scientific method but with his theological one, viz muscular Christianity. Its maxim, “mentem sanam in corpora sano” (a sound mind in a sound body), also prescribes The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby (1863), along with contemporary scientific issues, particularly evolutionary theory.
It is well known that Kingsley advocated the theory of evolution, albeit being a reverent Anglican priest. As to the main factors in the evolution of species, whilst Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer posited environment and capacity of species respectively, Kingsley undoubtedly assumed the divine will. It is not only because that he was a liberal minded broad church parson who grew up to be an amateur naturalist, but because he seemed to take his stammering for a moral defect as well as a physical one, and regard the theory as a possible remedy for his infirmity. In other words, he deliberately misread the theory, following the divine providence to cure or evolve his disease as a (moral) atrophy. The paper’s aim is to show that it is by no means myopic for Kingsley to reconcile science with Christian theology in both the stammering cure and The Water-Babies, despite his excessive impetuosity often pointed out.
Kingsley was optimistic enough to preach through God’s voice (a voice from outside) in the late 1840’s, but this proved to be a fiasco, turning into muscular Christian (a voice from inside) around the mid 1850’s. As we could see his distrust in both parole and écriture in The Water-Babies, a voice from inside does not work properly. The reason is quite obvious. Kingsley, who was an ardent Baconian scientist, regarded an inductive The Water-Babies as a “riddle” that the young readers must read. A riddle is a question that describes something in a confusing way and could have several answers, but it was only an answer that Kingsley prepared for the riddle: “Moral” of an ideal muscular Christian. In other words, Kingsley not only mistook an inductive riddle for a deductive riddle but also made the young readers interpret the deductive one through the inductive story, The Water-Babies. Even though the answer for the riddle continually eludes, and the young readers cannot read the story ‘correctly.’ Kingsley must continue writing stories and talking to someone so that he should not fall silent, because the abandonment of communication is nothing but utter dumbness.
journal title
Hiroshima studies in English language and literature
volume
Volume 60
start page
23
end page
37
date of issued
2016-03-30
publisher
広島大学英文学会
issn
0288-2876
ncid
language
jpn
nii type
Departmental Bulletin Paper
HU type
Departmental Bulletin Papers
DCMI type
text
format
application/pdf
text version
publisher
rights
著作権は、執筆者本人と広島大学英文学会に帰属する
department
Graduate School of Letters
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