The Mystical Gothic of Arthur Machen, Evelyn Underhill, and Charles Williams
In Chapter 13, a range of writers, all belonging to the Christian occult group, the Order of the Golden Dawn, employ Gothic tropes to describe theurgic/magical mystical ascent, whereby the material world is raised to the spiritual. Arthur Machen made ecstasy the aim of literature, and his Three Impostors is a self-reflexive work in which embedded tales seek to engender this mystical alchemy, whereby the abject is theurgically raised. Evelyn Underhill takes the concept of the doppelgänger in A Column of Dust to a new place as a heuristic device to learn the love which alone makes knowledge transformative. Like Underhill, Charles Williams explores the redemptive power of the doppelgänger for his theology of reciprocity and exchange in Descent into Hell. Gothic tropes enable a spiritual education and find new ways to deal with the loss of meaning in the natural world.
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