COMPANION

Descriptions of F. M. Alexander

Several first-generation teachers wrote and spoke about F. M. Alexander, in particular Lulie Westfeldt, Erika Whittaker, Marjory Barlow,[1] [2] Walter Carrington, F. P. Jones and Elisabeth Walker. See individual biography for details of their writings.

Descriptions of F. M. Alexander frequently contain a mixture of descriptions of Alexander’s character and his teaching.

Descriptions of Alexander – Books

  • F. Matthias Alexander: The Man and His Work by Lulie Westfeldt contains descriptions of lessons and the teachers training course.[3]
  • The Expanding Self by Goddard Binkley contains the most detailed descriptions of lessons available.[4]
  • The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998) containing descriptions of F. M. Alexander’s teaching by James Harvey Robinson, Eva Webb, Frank and Grace Hand, Mrs Buchanen, Sir George Trevelyan and Anthony Ludovici (see below for details).[5]

Descriptions of Alexander – Articles

  • ‘The philosopher’s stone’ by James Harvey Robinson, 1919, is partly a description of the Technique, partly a description of how Alexander worked when giving lessons.[6]
  • The Ghost in the White House by Gerald Stanley Lee, 1920, includes a description of what he felt it was like to have lessons with Alexander.[7]
  • ‘Diary of my lessons in the Alexander Technique’ by Eva Webb, 1947; only the first lesson is with Alexander, subsequent lessons are with other teachers at Ashley Place.[8]
  • ‘The diaries of Frank and Grace Hand’, 1942, contain diary entries by Frank Hand and his mother, Grace, who had lessons with Alexander in New York.[9]
  • ‘Recording of a miracle’ by Mrs Buchanen, 1950s; the title refers to the fact that Mrs Buchanen was in very bad health before she had lessons with Alexander and made a remarkable recovery.[10]
  • ‘The journal of Sir George Trevelyan - Part One’, 1931-34, ‘Part Two’ 1936-37; part one contain reflections on what attracted Trevelyan to Alexander’s work; part two is diary entries of Trevelyan visiting Ashley Place and working with Alexander.[11]
  • ‘Training with F. M.’ by Sir George Trevelyan is a shorter version of his diary.[12]
  • ‘How I came to have lessons with F. M. Alexander’ by Anthony Ludovici is a an account, written in 1961, of how Ludovici was at first reluctant to have lessons, and how he only noted changes after a considerable number of lessons (in 1927).[13]
  • ‘Diary of first lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1935’ by Walter Carrington contains entries from a diary 25 November – 16 December 1935.[14]
  • ‘Recollections of my uncle, F. M. Alexander’ by Marjory Barlow is on the training course, on Alexander’s books, and on Alexander’s general outlook.[15]
  • ‘F. M. Alexander as I knew him’ by Walter Carrington contains recollections and stories of F. M. Alexander, from the late 1930s until 1955.[16]
  • ‘F. M. Alexander’s training course: The last years’ by Anthony Spawforth is his memories of training with Alexander 1951–53.[17]
  • ‘Cliff Lewis – Talks about his life with the Alexander Technique and F. M. Alexander’ by Cliff Lewis.[18]
  • ‘Alexander and the Alexander Technique – Reminiscences’ by Venkataraman Jagannathan on having 5–6 lessons in 1949 and again in 1951 with F. M. Alexander.[19]
  • ‘Reminiscences of F. M.’ by William S. Mason recounts some lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1946, and again in 1950 and 1951.[20]
  • ‘From a long-standing pupil’ by Eileen Gibson relates that she was born with a crooked spine, a lordosis and a scoliosis; how her doctor told her that he could do nothing for her, but did recommend Alexander. ‘My doctor and I were astonished at the result of my 32 lessons.’[21]
  • ‘From another grateful pupil’ by Elizabeth Bourke-Borrowes recounts how her father took her to have lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1943 after the onset of osteo-arthritis; she had lessons every day for a month, then twice a week for nearly 6 months, and ‘my condition was so improved that I was hardly aware of it although I felt obliged to carry a light shooting stick, much to F.M.’s annoyance.’[22]
  • ‘Derek Smith: notes from lessons at Ashley Place, 1947’ by Derek Smith contains notes of lessons, but the references are to Richard Walker, Walter Carrington, and Irene Stewart, so it is not clear whether any of the notes pertain to lessons with F. M. Alexander.[23]
  • ‘First lessons with F. M. in London 1955’ by Ella and Poul Friis Jepsen is a short description of three weeks of lessons with F. M. Alexander (and other teachers) in September 1955.[24]

Later descriptions

For descriptions of F. M. Alexander by people who did not meet him see F. M. Alexander (1869 – 1955).

References

[1] An Examined Life by Marjory Barlow, Trevor Allen Davies (Mornum Time Press, 2002), p. 27.
[2] An Examined Life by Marjory Barlow, Trevor Allen Davies (Mornum Time Press, 2002), pp. 137–38.
[3] F. Matthias Alexander: The Man and His Work by Lulie Westfeldt (Mouritz, 1998 [1964]).
[4] The Expanding Self by Goddard Binkley (STATBooks, 1993).
[5] The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998).
[6] ‘The Philosopher's Stone’ by James Harvey Robinson, 1919, in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 1–14.
[7] The Ghost in the White House by Gerald Stanley Lee (2007, BiblioBazaar; first published by Dutton in 1920).
[8] ‘Diary of My Lessons in the Alexander Technique’ by Eva Webb, 1947, in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 15–35.
[9] ‘The Diaries of Frank and Grace Hand’, 1942, in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 36–48.
[10] ‘Recording of a Miracle’ by Mrs Buchanen, 1950s, in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 49–64.
[11] ‘The Journal of Sir George Trevelyan - Part One’, 1931-34, ‘Part Two’ 1936-37, in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 65–101.
[12] ‘Training with F. M.’ by Sir George Trevelyan in The Alexander Journal no. 12 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, 1991), pp. 13–28.
[13] ‘How I came to have Lessons with F. M. Alexander’ by Anthony Ludovici in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), pp. 102–08.
[14] ‘Diary of first lessons wth F. M. Alexander in 1935’ by Walter Carrington in Personally Speaking by Walter Carrington, Seán Carey, (Mouritz, 2001 [1986]), pp. 136–141.
[15] ‘Recollections of my uncle, F. M. Alexander’ by Marjory Barlow in The Congress Papers 1994, The Meaning of Change, 125 Years On, edited by David Garlick (Direction, 1996), pp. 8–11.
[16] ‘F. M. Alexander as I knew him’ by Walter Carrington in The Alexander Journal no. 14 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, 1995), pp. 3–11. Also in An Evolution of the Alexander Technique by Walter Carrington, Dilys Carrington (Sheildrake Press, 2017), pp. 131–44.
[17] ‘F. M. Alexander’s training course: The last years’ by Tony Spawforth in The Alexander Journal no. 16 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, 1999), pp. 3–8.
[18] Cliff Lewis– Talks about his life with the Alexander Technique and F. M. Alexander’ by Cliff Lewis. Edited by Sue York. Booklet. (F. Matthias Alexander Trust, 2006.) Also published (slightly edited) as ‘Recollections by a pupil of Alexander’s’ by Cliff Lewis in The Alexander Journal no. 16 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, 1999), pp. 34–38.
[19] ‘Alexander and the Alexander Technique – Reminiscences’ by Venkataraman Jagannathan in The Alexander Journal no. 18 edited by Francesca Greenoak (STAT, 2002), pp. 22–25.
[20] ‘Reminiscences of F. M.’ by William S. Mason in STATNews vol. 4, no. 9 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, June 1994), pp. 10. Reprinted from the NETCAT newsletter no. 7, October 1993.
[21] ‘From a long-standing pupil’ by Eileen Gibson in STATNews vol. 1, January 1988 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, January 1988), pp. 11–12.
[22] ‘From another grateful pupil’ by Elizabeth Bourke-Borrowes in STATNews vol. 1, January 1988 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, January 1988), p. 12.
[23] ‘Derek Smith: notes from lessons at Ashley Place, 1947’ in STATNews vol. 7, no. 7 edited by Jamie McDowell (STAT, January 2012), pp. 29.
[24] ‘First lessons with F. M. in London 1955’ by Ella and Poul Friis Jepsen, translated by Mary McGovern in STATNews vol. 6, no. 8 edited by Ann James (STAT, September 2002), p. 14.
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