24 DECEMBER 1904, Page 22

[Under this heading we notice such Books of the week

as have not been reserved for review in other forms.] Studies in Religion and Literature. By W. S. Lilly. (Chapman and Hall. 12s. 6d. net.)—It is impossible not to ask, as one reads Mr. Lilly's essays, written, as they are for the most part, with a sweet reasonableness that is worthy of all praise,—Were the conclusions to which this writer moves so deliberately, and, as it would seem, logically, fixed beforehand for him? It is true that he holds with Cardinal Newman that the " Syllabus Errorum" of 1864 " has in itself no dogmatic force "—the Syllabus was at least intended to stop many avenues of free thought—still, we feel a little perplexed. Accordingly we enjoy the purely literary articles, such as "A French Shakespeare" (Honore de Balzac) and "A Grand Old Pagan" (Walter Savage Lander), more than their companions. There will also be a fairly general consensus of agreement in praising " The Mission of Tennyson." The caution suggested in the essay on " Ghost Stories," that this is an unwholesome sort of subject, is a word in season. No one need be troubled by the argument which seeks to show that Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic. The thesis has been put forward and defended many times, and will be so again. The nearer any one comes to establishing it, the greater support he lends to the theory that Shakespeare the actor was not the same- person as the writer of the plays. A professed Roman Catholic could hardly have been a welcome personage at the Court of Elizabeth and James. The essay on Tractarianism may be read with profit. Pas est et ab hoste doceri.