Tag: 1993 Newsletter

Evelyn Underhill: Middle-Way Within the Media?

by Todd E. Johnson

“‘Souls who live an heroic spiritual life within great religious traditions and institutions, attain a rare volume and vividness of religious insight, conviction and reality’—far more seldom achieved by the religious individualist.”  Evelyn Underhill applied this quote of Baron von Hugel to the Oxford Tractarians and their spiritual revitalization of the Church of England. As Underhill describes the work of the Tractarians—those heroic souls whose vision of a church filled with mystery and awe created a renaissance within Anglicanism—one is struck by the similarity to her own life almost a century later. Underhill describes the Tractarians as restoring a sense of the Catholic tradition to the church, of reviving liturgical and sacramental worship, advocating a disciplined life, and emphasizing Christian sanctity. The examples of Underhill’s writings which square nicely with each of these four areas are … Read more

The Note of Failure in the Symphony of Grace: Reading Evelyn Underhill’s Theophanies

by Kathleen Henderson Staudt

A modern reader coming to Theophanies is bound to be put off by the Edwardian conventionality of rhythm and music and by the tendentiousness of those poems on explicitly spiritual—especially neo-platonic—themes. But buried among these unsatisfactory efforts are flashes of genuine and original insights, where we see Underhill testing and using her gift for imaging, in homely terms, what she perceived as the presence and pull of God’s love in the world.

For example, the poem entitled “In the Train” constrasts the ardor and excitement of her own vision with the blindness of those around her. Beginning “O Train full of blind eyes, rushing through the world,” it goes on to sketch out in vivid, positively sensual imagery the poet’s imaginative communion with the meadow outside—”it and I, close locked in passionate embrace”

And the moist … Read more