Evelyn Underhill (Scholar Spotlight)

Biography Evelyn Underhill (6 December 1875 – 15 June 1941) was one of the most influential twentieth-century writers on mysticism and spirituality. Her work is largely credited with bringing mysticism to the masses, with enormously influential publications such as Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness (1911) reprinted numerous times to keep up with demand. Her belief that mysticism was a spiritual path that should be open to all is best seen in…

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Conference Report: Early Modern Political Thought and Twenty-First Century Politics, 16th May 2018

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend an evening workshop at the Lit & Phil Library, Newcastle. The goal of the session was to explore what early-modern thinkers had to say on the themes of popular mobilisation, toleration, environmentalism and exile and what their insights might add to contemporary political discussions. The workshop was organised by Dr Rachel Hammersley, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History at Newcastle University, as part of her British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. The four speakers were John…

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Book Review: Jane Lead and her Transnational Legacy

Jane Lead and the Philadelphian Society are not particularly well known figures to most scholars of late 17th- and early 18th-century religion. Born in 1624, Lead experienced a spiritual awakening aged 16. On Christmas Day 1640, while her family danced and celebrated, she was overwhelmed with a ‘beam of Godly light’ and a gentle inner voice offering spiritual guidance. After the death of her husband in 1670 she received daily spiritual outpourings, finding comfort in…

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Conference Report: Reformation Studies Colloquium, Newcastle, 14-16 September 2016

The Reformation Studies Colloquium took place in Newcastle between Wednesday 14th and Friday 16th September. The event was well attended and featured speakers from a variety of countries. I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy all three days of the conference without the looming threat of admin and the start of the new academic year, and was thus able to enjoy a whole range of papers and panels. The first panel I attended…

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Who wrote ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’?

The Book of Margery Kempe is undoubtedly one of the most important surviving pieces of medieval English literature. It allows us insight into a multitude of different issues: gender roles, marital relations, female authority, Lollardy, pilgrimage, fasting, the hazards of travel and contested visionary experience, to name just a few. Yet until the twentieth century very little was known about it at all. Small extracts from the Book were printed in 1501 and 1521, but…

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