...and, glory be, what a wonderful book it is. Prof Gordon is a penetrating, fascinating and infinitely helpful guide to this tremendous figure, so appalling most of the time as a man, so endlessly rewarding as a poet. Perhaps a shame to call it the imperfect life of...which would be suitable for virtually everyone: what perfect life would ever produce poetry worth reading? Here, she portrays him mainly in relation to the three most important women in his life - plus the fourth who nips in briskly at the last moment just in time to, ah, safeguard his heritage, so to speak - and the suffering they underwent to various degrees, poor loves - only the bottomless generosity of the female heart can explain a desire to offer it to such a pernickety and unpromising recipient. The descriptions of his composition of his two era-warping masterpieces are seriously absorbing, so by the time he's flexing his muscles to get to grips with Little Gidding it's rather like reading a thriller: have Xanax within easy reach. All in all, brilliantly readable, beautifully written, absolutely recommended.