January 14, 2022

In conducting research for her thesis on Underhill, editor Brame discovered four unpublished “retreats” given between 1924 and 1928 by this famed writer of mysticism. These, in addition to an excellent introduction, constitute the present work. In the introduction, Brame outlines Underhill’s pioneer position as a woman in the Church of England and skillfully combines a summation of the major themes in the retreats with Underhill’s life experience and thought at the time. Each retreat is divided into several themes, which are preceded by carefully selected hymns and prayers. Underhill’s characteristic clever use of language, wide knowledge of Western spirituality, practicality, and balance are evident in each address along with an urgency and desire to inspire that are not found in her more academic works. Her main theme is holiness through prayer and inner transformation, which naturally expresses itself in service to others. Some readers may be put off by her use of the masculine pronoun for God and other dated idioms. But those who probe deeper, will find much wisdom, inspiration, and profound understanding of the workings of the spiritual life. The book is a must for theological and religious libraries and highly recommended for all who are interested in the spiritual life.

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