"Unlike many mystics, who celebrate ecstasies, visions, voices, the scent of strange perfumes, and] the hearing of sweet sounds, he believed that the key to a closer relationship with God required private thought and prayer, and the elimination of all other distractions. He distrusted psychic phenomena, believing they were the accidents rather than the substance of the contemplative life, and quite possibly the work of the Devil. He felt that such hallucinations led only to self-deception and brought the believer no closer to God. Humorous at times, and written in plain English, The Cloud of Unknowing is intended for the general reader, especially the beginner in contemplation unsure about how to overcome initial difficulties. British writer of prose and poetry EVELYN UNDERHILL (1875 1941) was a fellow of King s College for Women and King s College, and was the first woman to lecture to the clergy in the Church of England. Through her radio appearances and her stint as editor of the political magazine The Spectator, she was a familiar voice in British public life between the wars. She authored more than 30 books (some under the pseudonym John Cordelier), including Concerning the Inner Life and Radiance: A Spiritual Memoir."