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Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness Paperback – August 1, 1999
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And yet her skill as an academic is not even close to my favorite thing about this book. What is? Her prose! Her writing is simply the most beautifully brilliant I've ever read on the subject. She writes in a way that is not only poetic, but is also clear and illuminating. Here's an example from page 252: "It must never be forgotten that all apparently one-sided descriptions of Illumination-more, all experiences of it-are governed by temperament. 'That Light whose smile kindles the Universe' is ever the same; but the self through whom it passes, and by whom we must receive its reports, has already submitted to the molding influences of environment and heredity, Church and State. The very language of which that self avails itself in its struggle for expression, links it with half a hundred philosophies and creeds."
A treasure for anyone looking for inspiring text, but who's tired of the overly sentimental and non-discerning "new age" drivel of our day, and a must for any serious student of the subject.
It must be admitted that some parts of Underhill's classic haven't aged as well as others. Her chapters on mysticism and vitalism and mysticism and psychology, for example, are dated (especially the former). But her analysis in the second part of the book of the soul's journey to God, beginning with purgation and continuing through to mystical unification, still remains one of the best single treatments going. Underhill has a masterful grasp of western (Christian and, to a lesser extent, Jewish and Moslem) mysticism, and reading her just for the quotes from the great spiritual masters would be a delight in itself.
Don't sell her short. Doing so deprives you of the great pleasure of her company.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Difficult prose style...very long exposition of mysticism...lacking the spirit and warmth...and metaphors to illuminate the mystic state.Published 8 days ago by AAC
This is a brilliant book which has never been out of print since 1911. Underhill was a pioneer. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THIS PARTICULAR BOOK IS NOT "MYSTICISM" but another... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dana Greene
Shining brighter then the midday sun. Evelyn Underhill has certain found the Stone of the Wise, the Philosopher s stone. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Five stars because the author is probably brilliant but one star for the wordiness (fault of the author) and one star for the tiny font (fault of the publisher. Read morePublished 12 months ago by John Cain
It's s classic for a reason. The scholarship, depth, and breadth in her work is truly impressive. Other than some archaic and somewhat dense (typical of a book originally in1911) I... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Manu Mukasa
Good solid work for a real student of this topic. Enjoyed delving into it.Published 14 months ago by SCathy Campbell
This book is packed full of useful information. If I could only stay with it long enough to absorb it! Read morePublished 16 months ago by CeeJay