Evelyn Underhill, English Mystic

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June 15 is the anniversary of the death of Evelyn Underhill (6 December 1875 – 15 June 1941), the great and prolific English writer on Christian mysticism, beginning with her best known work, “Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness” (1911). She made Christian mysticism and asceticism accessible to the audience of her time and, although her style makes her works feel somewhat dated in the modern world, she remains one of the greatest modern exponents of the Christian spiritual life of which she not only wrote, but which she lived.
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“More than any other person, she was responsible for introducing the forgotten authors of medieval and Catholic spirituality to a largely Protestant audience and the lives of eastern mystics to the English-speaking world. As a frequent guest on radio, her 1936 work “The Spiritual Life” was especially influential as transcribed from a series of broadcasts given as a sequel to those by Dom Bernard Clements on the subject of prayer.
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Fellow theologian Charles Williams wrote the introduction to her published “Letters” in 1943, which reveal much about this prodigious woman. Upon her death, “The Times” reported that on the subject of theology, she was “unmatched by any of the professional teachers of her day.”
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