When he died in 1950, Bernard Shaw was a Nobel laureate hailed as the second greatest playwright in the English language. At the same time, his strangely flamboyant personality, filled with eccentricities and contradictions, aroused curiosity. Despite many investigations into Shaw's life and art, parts of him have remained secret. In this critical biography, Sally Peters explores Shaw's background and beliefs, interests and obsessions, relations with men and women, prose writings and dramatic art. In trying to decipher the man she uncovers a convoluted and extravagant inner life studded with erotic secrets. Peters examines the passions of Shaw's life - everything from vegetarianism and boxing to socialism and feminism - and pieces them together, offering an interpretation of his life and works. Striving unceasingly to ascend, possessed of monumental energy, Shaw was in many ways a dazzling example of his idealized superman. But, says Peters, this superman was also a man haunted by phantoms, a man of gender ambivalences and romantic yearnings, and a man who championed will even while believing that his erotic inclinations were the secret mark of the "born artist". Throughout, he was braced by a resilient comic vision as he transformed his life into enduring art.