An investigation into modes of early modern English literary 'indirection,' this study could also be considered a detective work on a pseudonym attached to some late sixteenth-century works. In the course of unmasking 'R.L.', McCarthy scrutinizes devices employed by writers in the Sidney coterie: punning, often across languages; repetitio-insistence on a sound, or hiding two persons 'under one hood'; disingenuous juxtaposition; evocation of original context; differential spelling (intended and significant). Among McCarthy's stunning-but solidly underpinned-conclusions are: Shakespeare used the pseudonym 'R.L.' among other pseudonyms; one, 'William Smith', was also his 'alias' in life; Shakespeare was at the heart of the Sidney circle, whose literary programme was hostile to Elizabeth I; and his work, composed mainly from the late 1570s to the early 90s, occasionally 'embedded' in the work of others, was covertly alluded to more often than has been recognized.