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. HareTitle Page
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