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Variously described as a satirical, political or anti-Jacobin novel, The Vagabond was an immediate popular success and reached this third edition within the first year of publication. I am indebted to an online catalogue entry posted by Second Life Books of Lanesborough, MA, for the following notes:

In the book, we are told, William Godwin appears as ‘Stupeo’ and Walker paraphrases and deliberately misinterprets both Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women and Godwin's own Political Equality. Walker’s ‘Stupeo’ advocates gambling as a way to equalize assets and eventually founds a Utopian republic in America, which fails.

St. Clair, in his The Godwins and the Shelleys, summarizes the central episode of the novel as when “the hero stands before a burning house in which the girl he has made pregnant is trapped along with her father, but both are burned to death before he can calculate the comparative utility of his options.”