A cabin boy on his father's ship at seven and again at sixteen, a school-master in backwoods Australia at eighteen, yet always shy and scholarly, Ellis' youth was filled with the same inconsistencies which marked him in his adult life. This biography on the centenary of his birth does not dodge these inconsistencies. Rather it illustrates them and tactfully conjectures on their reasons. For Havelock Ellis could never quite reconcile the spiritual and the physical, nor formalize what his own role should be with women. His wife Edith's homosexuality for instance forced him into a peculiar pattern of confusion and withdrawal. Yet this- probably more than the writings of James Hinton- turned him to his psychological studies. Out came Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Into the flames went early volumes, courtesy of Scotland Yard morals men. And a great career was launched. All this is of course fascinating. But rarely is the book as interesting as John Stewart Collis' personal portrait, which appeared last year (Morrow-Sloane), in its insight or its handling.