Like Shapes and Stories, a kaleidoscope of pictures in many styles and media, from ancient to modern times, from Europe to the Far East, with one constant: the author's informed enthusiasm. Also his companionate presence, conversational and quixotic, telling stories about the paintings or the painters, observing broadly or noting details, addressing questions or directions to the reader, frustrating him initially with references to what will follow, rewarding him finally with the follow-up--not being anybody's Baedeker (because not systematic) or docent (because not thorough) but performing the function of provocateur. And it is a performance, the text talking about the adjacent pictures, these in color or black-and-white as need be, large or small as suits the subject, the whole designed as an immediate, dramatic experience. The people are seen in self-portraits and portrait studies, as people per se or shapes of people (one of Mr. Grigson's many wise distinctions), sometimes as inhuman; they're ordinary people, heroic or mythic figures, poets, pilgrims--what is observed, bears on their state of being. Not a book to describe in so many words (as you can see) and of no pragmatic value but valuable nonetheless.