A long, closely-reasoned analysis of Aiken's poetry contains almost no biographical material and the references to poems, stories, etc., skip around and relate to each other. It is a difficult book to read unless one knows Aiken's works well, and ant it is often redundant. Through many of the generalizations and observations, however, a broader sense of Aiken does emerge. He is an artist passionately interested in the development of self-awareness, and a kind of total consciousness and love of experience, and some of this sympathetic, intense and loving concern with life does emerge for the general reader. But Aiken himself perhaps best explains himself, or at least conveys best the emotional intensities and subtleties he intends. He is a poet and critic well worth reading for his own sake and although this book has considerable value as footnote analysis and interpretation, it is of interest more for the scholar and student of Aiken's poetry than for the casual reader.