irony and irreverence run at flood tidernon our campuses. Within the hteraryrncanon, writers such as Spenser, Milton,rnJohnson, Walter Scott, and Tennysonrnhave either disappeared into the hands ofrnspecialists or are mined and exploited forrnbizarre qualities or views.rnThe single remaining literary exceptionrnto this discarding, revision, and reinterpretationrnof texts is the work of Shakespeare,rnwhose piety and traditionalismrnsomehow retain a unique, and uniquelyrnmoral, force. Of the villains in KingrnLear, for instance, Alfred Harbage saidrnthat “even that curious product of ourrntimes, the liberalism-gone-to-seed whichrnautomatically defends anvthing fromrntreachery to sadism providing it savorsrnof non-conformity, has found littlernto say for these insatiable” figures.rnShakespearean drama remains a perennialrnmorality play that reaffirms the NaturalrnLaw to tens of thousands of readersrnand spectators each year, despite radicalrnteachers, directors, and “gay” actors. Itrnwas a supreme imaginative stroke of geniusrnfor Aldous Huxley to use the writingsrnof Shakespeare as the last evidencernof spirituality in his “brave new world.”rnYet our current immoralism was alreadyrnevident in Shakespeare’s day: it can bernseen in Machiavelli and Marlowe. Howrndid Shakespeare transcend and critiquernit then?rnThat Shakespeare was an Aristotelianrnand a Natural Law thinker and dramatistrnhas been argued by many scholars. But itrnis the contention of John Henry dernGroot’s The Shakespeares and “The OldrnFaith”—first published in 1946 andrnnow available again, with a new postscriptrnby Stanley L. Jaki—that Shakespeare’srnparticular loyalty, spiritual andrnmoral, was to Catholicism. The argumentrnis compelling for a number ofrnreasons: De Groot was not a Catholic,rnbut a learned Presbyterian minister; hisrnbook was a dissertation based on exhaustivernresearch and done under the distinguishedrnShakespearean O.J. Campbell atrnColumbia; and his summary and analysisrnare painstakingly careful and definitive.rnIt is Stanley Jaki’s contention that, despiternits initially favorable reviews inrn1946, De Groot’s book has not gottenrnthe attention it deserves because its argumentrnabout the “recusant” Catholicismrnof the Shakespeare family is distasteful orrntroubling to prevailing scholarly tastes.rnFrom Santayana to Walter Kaufmann torn”modernized” productions of the plays,rnit has long been fashionable to portrayrnShakespeare as an “existentialist,”rnpreparing the way for the modern, liberatedrnself.rnTo be sure, there have been exceptionsrnto this view of Shakespeare. The perceptionrnof Shakespeare as an orthodoxrnChristian writer has been argued forrnmany years by Professor Roy W. Battenhousernof Indiana University, mostrnrecently in his anthology of criticism,rnShakespeare’s Christian Dimensionrn(1993). Yet the importance of Catholicismrnin the life of John Shakespeare andrnin the life, family, and writing of his sonrnWilliam have been given most judiciousrntreatment by De Groot in this outstandingrnbook. Among other points that DernGroot argues convincingly are that JohnrnShakespeare “was a Catholic throughoutrnhis life and that his household was infusedrnwith the spirit of the Old Faith”;rnthat in school in Stratford, William studiedrnunder Simon Hunt, who eventuallyrnbecame “a Catholic, then a Douay Seminaryrnstudent [in France], and finally arnJesuit”; and that John Shakespeare’srn”Last Will and Testament” is authenticrnand is modeled on that of the famousrnMilanese Cardinal, saint, and Counter-rnReformation polemicist Carlo Borromeo,rnsomething mainline Shakespearernscholarship (as in Stanley Wells’s Shakespeare:rnAn Illustrated Dictionary), hasrnconceded, though usually without creditingrnthe pioneering research of FatherrnHerbert Thurston, S.J., and De Groot.rnSpecifically, De Groot shows howrnShakespeare’s poems and plavs reflectrnhis religious assumptions, views, and loyalties.rnThough he is by no means alonernin documenting “positive indications ofrnesteem for the old faith” in the Shakespeareanrncorpus, his account is unusuallyrnthorough and persuasive. Shakespearernlived at a time when it was illegal andrndangerous to adhere to the RomanrnChurch, when many suffered harshrnpenalties or death for doing so. DernGroot’s view is that Shakespeare covertlyrnkept alive his loyalty to “the Old Faith”rnwhile outwardly conforming to the staternchurch of Elizabeth and James. (Wernalso know that Shakespeare’s sister andrnelder daughter were both cited as recusantrnCatholics.)rnThe nonspecialist may wonder if andrnwhy any of this matters or has contemporaryrnrelevance. It does because Shakespeare’srnwork is the classic example ofrnhow traditional literature can conserve,rn”realize,” and transmit values and beliefsrnwhich philosophers and teachers mayrnhave “lost the art to verify,” in JohnrnCoulson’s phrase. Today, a variety of influencesrnhave combined to erode therncredibility not only of religious doctrinernbut of moral behavior itself. Shakespeare’srndogged if covert loyalty to “thernOld Faith” in combination with his loyaltyrnto its Natural Law morality makes hisrngenius an enduring source of “decentrnGodly order” in an age in which the faithrnis again embattled.rnMichael D. Aeschliman is director andrnsenior tutor of the Erasmus Institute,rnwhich offers a residential collegernprogram in Lausanne, Switzerland.rnJunglernExcursionsrnby Gregory McNameernGreen Cathedralsrnby Brian AlexanderrnNew York: Lyons & Burford;rn224 pp., $22.95rnCertain frontline soldiers in Vietnam,rnMichael Herr has written,rnwent off to battle in the jungle whistlingrnthe themes to the television shows Combatrnand The Mickey Mouse Club, makingrnVietnam the first television war in morernways than one.rnBrian Alexander, a journalist, carries arndifferent television talisman into the junglernin Green Cathedrals, one of the firstrnbooks in the genre of so-called literaryrntravel to skirt literature entirely. His inspirationrnfor traveling to seven of thernwodd’s rain forests—all but one in therntropics—was, he writes, the old Tarzanrnserial, its half-hour episodes full of rushingrnrivers and crocodiles agape, of savagernnatives and scantily dressed jungle goddesses.rnNone of the usual bookish precedentsrnfor adventure travel—Kipling,rnMasters, London, Hilary—figure in hisrnpages, which bear the stamp of theirrnelectronic origins, all short attentionrnspan and superficiality, but with bursts ofrnintelligence and interest nonetheless.rnAlexander makes no grand claims forrnthe program of travel that underliesrnGreen Cathedrals. Inspired by Ron Ely’srnonscreen antics though he may havernMAY 1996/29rnrnrn