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The Use of the Self Paperback – November 1, 2001
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Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in Tasmania in 1869. In his twenties, he became a professional reciter of dramatic pieces. After almost completely losing his voice, he pioneered a method of improving the “use” of his body musculature in all positions and movements, curing his vocal problems without medical aid. Alexander came to realize that most people stand, sit, and move in a defective manner and that the incorrect “use of the self” might be the cause of much human suffering. He moved to London and established a school, publishing several books and achieving international success. Alexander died in 1955, but his technique of mind and body re–education lives on through the work of the many teachers of his method. The Use of the Self is the foremost text on Alexander’s revolutionary technique.
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It is true that sometimes Alexander's sentences can be overlong and ponderous, and this can make his books difficult for some readers. But I found this book highly readable and incredibly persuasive despite these modest stylistic shortcomings. If you feel Alexander's writing is too impenetrable and anachronistic, you can get some real perspective by reading Thomas DeQuincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater." Then you'll really have something to complain about.
I bought a copy of this book, "The Use of the Self," and would highly recommend it to those familiar with the technique and for those that are simply curious. Though one can always learn more through private lessons, this book is an inexpensive and valuable guide to starting the process of change. I would also recommend Alcantara's book, "Indirect Procedures."
Prof Heitor M Quintella, DSc