LIBRARY - Reference(s)

An African Odyssey

A Memoir. Evolution, posture and the work of F. M. Alexander
AT Focus: 
Alexander Technique
215 x 140 mm.
ISBN 184289000X / 978-1842890004
Additional notes: 
Introduction by Walter Carrington.
Mouritz Bibliography
Cover image: 
Later edition flag: 
This has later editions
Biblio ID: 
Base ID: 
Mouritz description: 
This memoir, published posthumously, can roughly be divided into three parts: 1) Massey’s time in Africa where he worked and attempted a mining venture. 2) His story of suffering from severe (regarded as terminal) TB in 1949-50, and his time in a sanatorium in Switzerland. He read Alexander’s books and worked on inhibiting and directing on his own; later he had lessons from Alexander and other teachers and recovered. 3) His investigations into his own theory that pygmies (of existing races) are our oldest human ancestors. Foreword by Walter Carrington. An otherwise nice hardback is marred by a poor print quality.
[This description is for the second edition.]

When Hugh Massey found himself in the Free French colony of Cameroon in West Africa during the Second World War, he had little idea that the ground was being laid for a personal research project which was to preoccupy him for most of his life. The combination of his observation of African wild life - great apes in particular - and his contact with different sections of the local African population came to take on an unexpected new perspective when he found himself the victim of TB. Such was the seriousness of his condition - in the days before new drug technology made the breakthrough in the treatment of this devastating disease - that he was considered effectively to be under a sentence of death. Seemingly by chance, but in Hugh's view by destiny, he happened to come across the theories of F.M. Alexander, which offered him a faint ray of hope in his desperate situation. The extraordinary cure he was able to effect through this unorthodox approach led him to some radical conclusions concerning human evolution, bringing him to the view that the key to understanding the ascent of man lay in posture. Significantly, this was the lynchpin of Alexander's whole theory of health and well-being, as embodied in the internationally-regarded Alexander Technique.

This new edition of An African Odyssey brings the story up to date in terms of certain recent remarkable developments that appear to further support Hugh Massey's theory of human evolution. They include the example of a relatively recent society of pygmy, monkey-like people whose remains have been discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia; the story of a monkey in a safari park in Israel that hit the world media headlines when she started to walk upright with human posture, and the little-known history of equatorial pygmy societies in Australia and elsewhere.