The Mystical Works of Evelyn Underhill comprises the most important works of one of the foremost writers on spirituality and Christian mysticism of the early twentieth century. The collection opens with Underhill’s most widely read work: Mysticism. A general introduction to the concept, followed by a comprehensive exploration of the nature and development of human mystical consciousness, this work defined a wing of Christianity that found its footing at the turn of the century. The subsequent 10 volumes articulate the finer points of Underhill’s religious philosophy, elucidating the place of mysticism within the personal, practical, historical, and institutional realms. This collection is a valuable resource for students and scholars alike.
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Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941) was born in Wolverhampton, England, to a London barrister. An only child, Underhill received her early education at home and then studied history and botany at King’s College, London. Though Underhill was an agnostic for some time, mystical experiences she had as a child motivated her to continue exploring theology and religion. Underhill developed an interest in neoplatonism, which eventually led her to Catholic mystical thought. This spiritual journey led back to the Anglican Church, where Underhill became a devout Anglo-Catholic. Underhill’s spiritual father was the Austrian Roman Catholic mystic Baron Friedrich von Hugel. He mentored her from 1921 until his death in 1924. Following his death, Underhill began leading spiritual retreats for the Church of England. Underhill was the first woman to officially lead such retreats for the Church as well as the first woman to lecture to Church of England clergy and to teach theology in British colleges and universities. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen University and became a fellow of King’s College, London. Underhill was also the editor of the conservative magazine The Spectator.