Evelyn Underhill

Evelun Underhill

Mysticism (1911)


This is the work on which her public reputation primarily rests. It charts spiritual experience as human consciousness moving in a series of defined steps, through a series of well-defined stages, towards an ever-increasing communion with God. The work was founded in Neoplatonism, Monism, and the Vitalism of Henri Bergson, an increasing awareness of God as vital presence.

This positivist approach was severely challenged by the events of World War I, and the death of a close friend, and she suggested in her preface to the twelfth edition of Mysticism that she was now less than satisfied with some aspects of her earlier approach. She had turned to Baron Friedrich von Hügel for guidance and later, following his death, she wrote Man and the Supernatural, a re-interpretation (after von Hügel) of spiritual life and growth emphasising the mediating role of Jesus in this process.

Over the next several years, she once more shifted emphasis under the influence of Whitehead and others, and The Golden Sequence pays greater attention to the role of the Holy Spirit.



Preface to First Edition

Preface to Twelfth Edition

Part 1. Chapter 1: The Point of Departure

Part 1. Chapter 2: Mysticism and Vitalism

Part 1. Chapter 3: Mysticism and Psychology

Part 1. Chapter 4: The Characteristics of Mysticism

Part 1. Chapter 5: Mysticism and Theology

Part 1. Chapter 6: Mysticism and Symbolism

Part 1. Chapter 7: Mysticism and Magic

Part 2. Chapter 1. Introductory

Part 2. Chapter 2. The Awakening of the Self

Part 2. Chapter 3. Purification of the Self

Part 2. Chapter 4. Illumination of the Self

Part 2. Chapter 5: Voices and Visions

Part 2: Chapter 6: Introversion pt 1: Recollection and Quiet

Part 2: Chapter 7: Introversion pt 2: Contemplation

Part 2: Chapter 8: Introversion pt 3: Ecstasy and Rapture

Part 2: Chapter 9: The Dark Night of the Soul

Part 2: Chapter 10: The Unitive Life

Part 2: Chapter 11: Conclusion





1906 - The Miracles of Our Lady Saint Mary

1911 - Mysticism

1912 - Introduction to The Cloud of Unknowing

1913 - The Mystic Way

1914 - Introduction: Richard Rolle - The Fire of Love

1915 - Practical Mysticism

1915 - Introduction: Songs of Kabir

1916 - Introduction: John of Ruysbroeck

1920 - The Essentials of Mysticism, and other Essays

1922 - The Spiral Way

1922 - The Life of the Spirit and the Life of Today (Upton Lectures)

1926 - Concerning the Inner Life

1928 - Man and the Supernatural

1929 - The House of the Soul

1933 - The Golden Sequence

1933 - Mixed Pasture: Twelve Essays

1936 - The Spiritual Life

1943 - Introduction to the Letters of Evelyn Underhill
by Charles Williams


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