Darwin, Charles

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

  • First edition, first impression, second issue with three leaves of preliminaries and the signatures and misprint as described by Freeman; the plates with Arabic numerals rather than Roman.

    The Expression of the Emotions was a significant contribution to evolutionary theory and was one of the first books to be illustrated with photographic heliotype plates. It was written "in part at least, as a confutation of the idea that the facial muscles of expression in man were a special endowment" (Freeman pp. 15-16). Here Darwin explicitly made the connection between the emotions and facial reflexes of humans and animals. He showed that human emotions were not unique, but part of a shared evolutionary heritage with the rest of the animal kingdom.

    "With this book Darwin founded the study of ethology (animal behaviour) and conveyance of information (communication theory) and made a major contribution to psychology' (DSB)... the work contains studies of facial and other types of expression (sound, erection of hair, etc.) in man and mammals, and their correlation with various emotions such as grief, love, anger, fear and shame. The results of Darwin’s investigations showed that in many cases expression is not learned but innate, and enabled Darwin to formulate three principles - relief of sensation or desire, antithesis, and reflex action - governing the expression of emotions" (Norman 600). A very attractive copy.

  • London: John Murray, 1872. Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, boards blocked in blind, black coated endpapers. 7 heliotype plates of which 3 are folding, 21 steel engravings within the text. Ads dated November 1872. Armorial bookplate. Professionally recased, cloth generally fresh and bright with subtle professional repairs to the corners, ends of spine, and hinges, light spotting to title, versos of plates, and pages adjoining plates, small tear to plate VI not affecting images. An attractive copy in very good condition. Bibliography: Freeman; Norman 600; Garrison-Morton 4975.




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