First published in 1799, George Walker's The Vagabond was an
immediate popular success. Offering a vitriolic critique of
post-Bastille Jacobinism and sansculotte-style mob rule, its
true-to-life satirical portraits of many of the radical men and
women who fought in the forefront of the "British Revolution" are
nonetheless full of playful banter and farce. With swipes at Hume,
Rousseau, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, and Paine; the French Revolution;
and the ideas of the noble savage, natural virtue, liberty,
equality, and romantic primitivism, The Vagabond offers a unique
cross-section of 1790s radicalism. This Broadview edition contains
a critical introduction and a wide selection of primary source
materials that situate the novel in the context of the
revolutionary debate of the 1790s. Appendices include contemporary
reviews of the novel and excerpts from the writings of a variety of
radicals and reactionaries engaged in the debate, such as Hume,
Rousseau, Paine, Thelwall, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Burke, Playfair,
Malthus, and Cobbett, among many others.
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