A prominent English poet and critic strips Arnold's ""beautiful and ineffectual"" angel and presents here Shelley the man and the poet, as a realistic idealist and a rebel of integrity. Despite a flighty, irresponsible youth, his early marriage and abandonment of Harriet, Shelley is drawn sympathetically. Blunden does not commit himself on Shelley's responsibility for Harriet's death, but he completely discredits Godwin's writings on the subject, interpreting them as the retaliation of a vengeful father, and proceeds to present Hunt as Shelley's dearest friend. Literary historians will dispute these controversial issues, but few will question his treatment of Hogg, Byron, Keats, Peacock, Medwin in relation to Shelley. The post emerges as a worldly, competent man who managed an extensive household, assumed nobly Byron's responsibilities with Claire Clairmont, liberally rewarded Godwin's genius although he hated the man. In his admiration Blunden glosses over Shelley's extra-marital affairs, makes too little of his reputed relation with Claire, and asks the reader to consider rather the genius and brilliance of the poet. A penetrating and masterly, if controversial, study of one of England's most fascinating figures.