Cleg Kelly: Arab of the City

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When Cleg Kelly was first published, William Wallace in the 'Academy' declared it 'out of sight the ablest and richest story of gamin life that has appeared in our time - the story that recalls most readily Oliver Twist and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.' Set partly in Edinburgh, the author draws on his student experiences as a missionary worker to paint a vivid, realistic picture of slum life in the capital through the eyes and adventures of Cleg Kelly, 'Arab of the City'. Written immediately after the author resigned from his position as Minister in the Free Church of Scotland, the novel sets the natural Christian impulses of its rebellious boy hero against religious hypocrisy and the cruelty and mistreatment of children. Blending urban and rural realism with gothic mystery, the story confirmed Crockett's position as one of the leading novelists of his day. This edition includes adetailed introduction by Richard D.Jackson which draws extensively on archival evidence to reveal the biographical contexts of the novel and Crockett's sources and processes of composition, allowing readers a richly-informed approach to a novel that explodes the myths of the Kailyard and, in the words of Wallace, 'shows most clearly that Crockett has the supreme story-teller's gift of a vigorous, resourceful and genuinely creative imagination'.