Seamus Perry at Literary Review:
To Jonathan Bate, Wordsworth matters principally as a prophet of nature. This may sound like what Basil Fawlty used to call a statement of the bleeding obvious. But in fact, since the Second World War scholars have more often thought about him in other terms: politically, or as a writer about psychological development, or as a central member of the ‘visionary company’ of English Romantics, the watchword for whom was not ‘Nature’ so much as ‘Imagination’. The return of nature to Wordsworthian commentary is a corollary of the environmentalist spirit of the age. The process was largely initiated by Bate himself in a book called Romantic Ecology (1991). This new book resumes the theme, providing a colourfully written celebration (one chapter is entitled ‘Lucy in the Harz with Dorothy’) of Wordsworth’s ‘radical alternative religion of nature’.