This week we are celebrating the publication of Alexander Murray’s book, Alexander’s Way: Frederick Matthias Alexander In His Own Words and in the Words of Those Who Knew Him.
Alexander’s Way explores the development of Alexander’s method, using Alexander’s own writings and the remembrances of those who knew him best. It begins with Alexander’s earliest days as an actor and teacher of elocution and the Delsarte Method of Dramatic Expression in 1890s Australia. We follow Alexander to London in 1904 and the maturation of his unique, hands-on teaching in the years leading up to World War I. We observe his travels to the United States, where he wins the influential support of the philosopher and educator, John Dewey. And we witness Alexander’s remarkable skill in his final decades through the eyes of Marjory Barlow, Walter Carrington, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Naumburg, Irene Tasker and many others. Alexander’s Way is an invitation to deeply explore Alexander’s fascinating history, and a rich resource for all serious students of the Alexander Technique.
The title Alexander's Way comes from Lao Tzu, often quoted by Patrick Macdonald: "A way that can be walked/is not The Way/A way that can be named/is not The Name." As Alex writes in the Preface, "At least we have Alexander's own written words as signposts on his journey. They point the way for us, which we are free to find as best we can."
Author Alexander D. Murray began his study of the Alexander Technique in 1955. He and his wife, Joan Murray, trained as teachers with Walter Carrington in the 1960s and were close with many first-generation teachers, including Marjorie Barstow, Walter and Dilys Carrington, Frank and Helen Jones, Patrick Macdonald, John Skinner, Peter Scott, Tony Spawforth, Richard and Elizabeth Walker, Lulie Westfeldt, Kitty Wielopolska, and Peggy Williams. In 1967, the Murrays met anthropologist Raymond Dart, and he inspired and cooperated in their development of the Dart Procedures, an ongoing exploration of human developmental movement that has influenced Alexander teaching throughout the world. Alex and Joan have trained Alexander Technique teachers at the Alexander Technique Center Urbana since 1977. Alex is professor emeritus of flute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra. The National Flute Association has honored him with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Alexander’s Way was originally published in 2010 as FM Alexander, In his Own Words, and in the Words of Those Who Knew Him. Philip Johnston edited the original edition and Katie Enders was instrumental in starting the process towards this new edition. A team of editors worked with the author to complete Alexander's Way, including Rose Bronec, Andrew McCann, and managing editor and designer, Evelyn Shapiro. We also benefited from the comments and close reading of Karen DeWig, Margie Marrs, and Malcolm Williamson. The reprints of Alexander's writings in Alexander’s Way were made possible with the generous permission of the Alexander Estate, Jean Fischer and Mouritz Press. It is the author’s hope that Alexander’s Way will inspire readers to explore Mouritz’s rich catalogue and read the excerpted works in their fuller context.
Alexander’s Way is being sold through the Seattle Book Company for $10 US. It can be purchased on line: http://www.seattlebookcompany.com/alexanders-way/