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Francois Delsarte

Dorando Pietri (1885–1942), Italian marathon runner, whose running style in the 1908 London Olympic Games was commented upon by F. M. Alexander. Life and 1908 London Olympic Games Dorando Pietri first participated in cycling competitions in 1903 but soon turned to running. He became famous by winning the Paris Amateur Marathon (30 km) in 1905, and from then on participated in numerous marathons. After winning an important race in Rome in 1906, he went to the 1908 London Olympic Games as one of the favourites. The Marathon Race in London made headlines at the time and secured...
François (Alexandre N. C.) Delsarte (1811–71), French teacher of singing and acting, known for being the founder of a method of expression known as the Delsarte System. The Delsarte System Acting in the early 19th century was mechanical and stereotyped; Delsarte represented one of the first modern attempts to develop a dramatic technique in the actual physical process of acting rather than by instilling routine imitation. Over many years he observed and codified the gestures and attitudes which people instinctively assume—covering almost all situations and emotions....
Grahame Fagg (1916–2002), doctor and pupil of Charles Neil. Life Grahame Fagg qualified in 1938 at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and served in India during World War II. He joined the Luton Children’s Annexe in 1950, before moving to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and later joining the Lister Hospital in Stevenage.[1] He was Consultant paediatrician in Hitchin, Luton, and Stevenage 1950–80.[2] [3] Fagg came across Charles Neil and his version of the Alexander Technique when searching for help in treating asthmatic children. Fagg became a supporter of...
Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), influential English philosopher and prominent liberal political theorist. He is quoted by F. M. Alexander. Herbert Spencer’s work and philosophy Herbert Spencer espoused a philosophy of inevitable progression and positivism with a belief in a unity of scientific method, a belief in natural law governing everything including human thinking and behaviour. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics (1851) expounded the idea of social evolution as increasing individualism, and this theme was repeated throughout his System of Synthetic Philosophy. The...
J. D. Beresford (1873–1947), English writer who assisted F. M. Alexander drafting some of the early chapters to Alexander’s Man’s Supreme Inheritance (1910). Life J. D. Beresford was affected by infantile paralysis, which left him partially disabled and he had to use crutches. His father was a clergyman, but J. D. Beresford became a determined agnostic. However later in life he embraced spirituality and faith-healing and described himself as a Theosophist. One early influence on him was Frederick W. H. Myers’ Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (...
James Faucit Cathcart (1828–1902), British actor who gave lessons in dramatic expression and interpretation to the young F. M. Alexander. F. M. Alexander mentions that he had received instruction from James F. Cathcart in UoS: I observed that this condition of undue muscle tension affected particularly the use of my legs, feet and toes, my toes being contracted and bent downwards in such a way that my feet were unduly arched, my weight thrown more on to the outside of my feet than it should have been, and my balance interfered with. On discovering this, I thought back to see if...
William James (1842–1910) was a famous American philosopher and psychologist, the ‘father of American psychology’. Among his most influential books is the two volume work, The Principles of Psychology (1890). Life William James was born in New York City. His father, a wealthy man, sent his children to European boarding schools and travelled widely in Europe with them. James first studied chemistry, then medicine. In 1865 he travelled with the biologist Louis Agassiz to the Amazon River basin to collect sample of species. In 1867 James studied physiology in Germany...