COMPANION

Goddard Binkley

Goddard Binkley (1920-1987), US teacher of the Technique, who is known for his diary of his lessons with F. M. Alexander, published as The Expanding Self.

Life

Goddard Binkley was born in 1920 in Chicago. During his studies towards a Ph.D. in Sociology at the New School for Social Research, New York, he started having lessons in the Alexander Technique. Considering training as an Alexander teacher he went to London in 1951 to have lessons with F. M. Alexander. He joined Alexander’s teacher training course in 1953 and qualified in 1957. Binkley painted and made sculptures and during his time in England he met many famous painters. He taught the Technique in New York City 1959-71 (among his pupils was Edward Maisel, the editor of The Resurrection of the Body[1]), and in Chicago 1971–81. In 1974 or 1975 he started a teachers' training course where he trained some twenty teachers. In 1981 Binkley moved to Paris where he started a training course which he ran until his death in 1987.

Writings

Goddard Binkley’s diary of his lessons with F. M. Alexander, together with a history of his life before lessons, and some notes on his training course with F. M. Alexander and Walter Carrington, was published posthumously in 1993 as The Expanding Self.[2] His detailed diary entries of his lessons with F. M. Alexander are the most extensive record of how the Technique’s originator taught. Both Walter Carrington and Marjory Barlow said that it captured Alexander’s style and way of talking in a lesson.[3] Walter wrote in the Foreword:

Those of us who knew Alexander, and who were taught and trained by him, can vouch for the authenticity of the portrait that Goddard paints. We can hear the familiar inflections of his voice and his whole manner of expression in the words that are reported.[4]

A short article on teaching, first written for the newsletter published by his training course in 1979, was published in The Alexander Review in 1989.[5]

An introductory article to the Alexander Technique features Goddard Binkley, with pictures of him teaching.[6]

Obituary

  • ‘In Memoriam: Goddard Binkley’, unsigned, in The Alexander Review.[7]
  • ‘Goddard Binkley’, unsigned, in STATNews.[8]

Fig. 1. Goddard Binkley teaching. (Unknown date.)

Goddard Binkley *8 October 1920 – †25 April 1987.

References

[1] The Resurrection of the Body by Edward Maisel (New York, University Books, 1969).
[2] The Expanding Self by Goddard Binkley (STATBooks, 1993).
[3] Personal conversation with Walter Carrington and Marjory Barlow, c. 1992.
[4] The Expanding Self by Goddard Binkley (STATBooks, 1993), p. ix.
[5] ‘Thoughts on the Technique’ by Goddard Binkley in The Alexander Review vol. 4, (Centerline Press, 1989), pp. 114–18.
[6] ‘Learn to Use Your Self as Nature Intended’ by Susan Jean McCrone in The National Exchange (date not known).
[7] ‘In Memoriam: Goddard Binkley’, unsigned, The Alexander Review May 1987, vol. 2, no. 2., p. 58.
[8] ‘Goddard Binkley’, unsigned, in STATNews vol. 1, January 1988 edited by Adam Nott (STAT, January 1988), pp. 6–8.