The operas of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are an institution. Hesketh Pearson's biography is of the two men who together formed a famous partnership and he is interested in them as individual, quite different personalities ? one of the explanations behind their equally famous quarrel. Pearson describes their lives rather than criticise their works. As the operas such as 'The Mikado' and 'The Pirates of Penzance' live on the stage, here their authors come to life in a biography.