London, Methuen and Co., Limited, May 1932 [second impression]/ January 1932.
Small octavo, xx, 143 pages with a cartoon (by Low) on the front endpaper.
Green cloth slightly rubbed, marked and flecked; edges, endpapers and adjacent leaves a little foxed; a very good copy.
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), founder of the Alexander Technique, was born at Table Cape, north-west Tasmania. After dabbling in the theatre as a young man, he 'turned to teaching stage skills, especially breathing and voice production. Further, he already maintained that correct posture was essential to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Modern civilization, he came to believe, had caused mankind to get head, neck, and trunk awry. The individual made the disastrous mistake of relying on feel of muscular comfort; it was necessary to "inhibit" such response and to impose "primary control" on the "psycho-physical unity". He never quite succeeded in finding the words to express his meaning; touch, charisma, and exhortation were his media.... He had a modest place among those thinkers of the early twentieth century, inspired especially by Nietzsche and Bergson, who strove to achieve a new, creative intensity of human feeling and performance. The quality of Alexander's intellect, while not contemptible, was limited: his forte was actually to imbue many pupil-patients with this intensity.... Interest in him revived strongly in the late 1960s, perhaps prompted by the neo-romanticism of those years refurbishing the notion of expanded consciousness. The most dramatic manifestation came from Professor Nikolaas Tinbergen: accepting the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, he said that Alexander's "story of perceptiveness, of intelligence, and of persistence, shown by a man without medical training, is one of the true epics of medical research and practice". A secondary literature on Alexander has developed steadily' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). Throughout his life he wrote a number of books that were reprinted and revised many times, but he 'always saw his teaching as a profitable business rather than a cult or subject for academic inquiry'.