A hostile American reviewer of Wordsworth noted that ‘he tries to look on nature as if she had never been looked on before’ and he bemoaned that fact that the poet seemed to be attracting an ‘ever increasing school of devoted disciples’ in America. Now, what he blames Wordsworth for accurately sums up the ambition of many of the Transcendentalists. There is no need here to disentangle the indigenous emotional drive from the imported European ideas in Transcendentalist thought. But it is important to stress how eager the Transcendentalists were to develop a new attitude towards...
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