Trying To Shut Down Alexander Technique Historian Jeroen Staring

A few months ago, I did this interview with Jeroen Staring (gnirats@hetnet.nl) via email:

How has the Alexander community reacted to your work? Is there a certain type of mind that reacts with interest to your work and another type of mind that reacts with horror?

That is an interesting question, difficult to answer though. I am pleased to see that several individual AT teachers are interested enough to order a copy of my dissertation. That is a great step, since the book is heavy (1.6 kilograms), therefore expensive to have it sent from The Netherlands, and it takes a lot of time to read it. It pleases me even more that these AT teachers, after more or less struggling with the facts reported, embrace the findings.
On the other hand there seems to exist a kind of rumour among AT teachers not to get involved with my work. On the whole, the majority of AT teachers do not show any interest at all. Viewed from my side it is a riddle to observe that what I have unearthed remains without consequence within AT teachers circles.
For example, I discovered several published 1949 letters to the editor of The Literary Guide and Rationalist Review and one published 1954 letter to the editor of The New Statesman and Nation —all by Alexander’s pen, totally unknown to AT teachers. I wrote about these letters in my dissertation. This year, Mr. Jean Fischer, a Danish AT teacher living in London who possesses a copy of my dissertation, published a new edition of his 1996 “Articles and Lectures” book — a collection of F. M. Alexander texts (inspired by my 1993 Dutch book De eerste 40 jaar uit het leven van F. Matthias Alexander, discussing Alexander’s early, pre-1910 writings). But the 1949 and 1954 letters written by Alexander which I unearthed are not in this new 2011 edition, according to Fischer’s website ( consult this website through the following link).
Is it because Alexander reverted to his 1910 Man’s Supreme Inheritance eugenics?
Perhaps, but it appears that Fischer also did not include a pamphlet which F. M. Alexander co-authored with his brother A.R. Alexander which I discovered in 2003 in Sydney, Australia.
If true, I just cannot understand why newly discovered texts (by me) should not be published in a book pretending to hold all these texts. Is it because I discovered them? Now, that would be a strange way of handling historical material: unprofessional, and completely incomprehensible to scientists.
Or does Fischer’s website not include finds I made, but the 2011 edition of Fischer’s book does? Nice riddle, isn’t it?

Now I’m reading a new book — CHANGING HABITS: The Power of Saying No. A personal view of the Alexander Technique for musicians, music students and their teachers by Malcolm Williamson.

On page 24, is this footnote: “I was summoned out of class by Walter to meet Joan Evans and her daughter, Jackie, in his living room late one morning. They were concerned that, with my being editor of the Society’s newsletter, I might give publicity to Jeroen Staring’s privately published book (Staring 1996). Apart from containing unfair personal bias and inaccuracies, the two were anxious that it should not detract from their own forthcoming book about the Alexander family’s history (Evans, 2001).”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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