This is a fine, meticulous and eloquent study of the poet Shelley, and is likely to appeal to laymen and scholars alike. It is less a biography in the formal sense of being chronologically exact, but rather an evocation of the thought and spirit of the man: his extraordinary restless dynamism, the impatient idealism, the obsession with beauty and what he felt to be the soul of beauty, the soaring imagination and the thrust for freedom - not simply his own but for mankind as a whole. His radicalism - political, social, personal - and its effect on his poetry are thoughtfully conveyed and vividly expressed. So too are the many paradoxes such as his sensitive, spontaneous generosity and yet sometimes disgracefully selfish treatment of lovers; and the intransigent atheism (loathing even the term 'God')wedded to an instinctive, at times rapturous, mysticism. Ann Wroe has immersed herself in Shelley's mind and in Shelley's world,somehow achieving empathy with this complex, elusive character while at the same time retaining a sharp, probing rigour in her assessment of his place in English literature. Speaking as one not temperamentally drawn either to the man or, with serious exceptions, much of his verse, I confess to being absorbed and impresed by this book - and perhaps to becoming more sympthetic to its subject!