The author began as a protege of the Shakespearean scholar Mark Van Doren & developed into a perceptive critic whose advantage was his own experience as a major poet. His voluminous writings on the Bard have now been collected & edited. After the opening section on Shakespeare's dramatic early years, the book continues with the author's brilliant reconstruction, "Shakespeare at Thirty," & seven other lectures, including "The Tragic Substance" & "Shakespeare's Last Word" (about The Tempest). The next section is devoted to King Lear, to a discussion of the difference between the quarto & folio texts of this masterpiece, & to the absorbing correspondence about the play's problems between the author & another of the greatest Shakespeare scholars, W. W. Greg. The fourth section investigates William Haughton as possible being "Mr. W. H." of the sonnets & a collaborator on The Taming of the Shrew. After a group of essays on various plays, including Henry VI & Macbeth, the book concludes with "Shakespeare's Reality," which the author apparently intends to be the end of his unfinished full-length study of Shakespeare.