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Evelyn Underhill


by Evelyn Underhill


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Evelyn Underhill (b. 6 Dec. 1875, d. 15 Jun 1941) was an English Anglo-Catholic writer who wrote extensively on Christian mysticism. A pacifist, novelist, and philosopher, she was widely read during the first half of the 20th century. This work, Mysticism, is not a textbook of the subject. She disagrees with William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience with his four-part division of the mystic state (ineffability, noetic quality, transcience, and passivity). She sees Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness as only the gateway to Unitative Living, about halfway there by her view (p. 193).

Underhill maps out her own view of the mystic's journey into five parts: "Awakening of Self," "Purgation of Self," "Illumination," "the Dark Night of the Soul," and "the Unitative life." Underhill is focussed on mysticism in Christianity but she also mentions Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other belief systems. This has long been considered a crucial work on the subject of Mysticism, and continues to guide seekers a century later.--J.B. Hare

Title Page
Preface to the Twelfth Edition
Preface to the First Edition

Part One: The Mystic Fact

Part One: The Mystic Fact
I. The Point of Departure
II. Mysticism and Vitalism
III. Mysticism and Psychology
IV. The Characteristics of Mysticism
V. Mysticism and Theology
VI. Mysticism and Symbolism
VII. Mysticism and Magic

Part Two: The Mystic Way

Part Two: The Mystic Way
I. Introductory
II. The Awakening of the Self
III. The Purification of the Self
IV. The Illumination of the Self
V. Voices and Visions
VI. Introversion. Part I: Recollection and Qui
VII. Introversion. Part II: Contemplation
VIII. Ecstasy and Rapture
IX. The Dark Night of the Soul
X. The Unitive Life


Appendix: Historical Sketch of Mysticism
Bibliographical Note


Index of Scripture References
Latin Words and Phrases
French Words and Phrases
Index of Pages of the Print Edition