Title: The Expression of Emotions in Man and in Animals, along with Darwin’s Autobiography
Author: Charles Darwin, Stephen Pinker (intro)
Publisher: The Folio Society, 2008
Condition: Hardcover, decorative cloth with matching slipcase. New. Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates.
Size: 10″ x 6¾”. 400 pages.
In The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Darwin set out ‘to show in considerable detail that all the chief expressions exhibited by man are the same throughout the world.’
And he did just that, compiling hundreds of detailed observations of men, women, children and animals – ‘I tickled the nose of a chimpanzee with a straw’ – in various emotional states. Weeping, blushing, raging, ‘sulkiness’ – all are recorded; we learn of the attributes of the sneer, the pout, the frown. Darwin took his examples from peoples across the world as well as closer to home, including his own family (especially his dog), blind people, the insane, zoo visits… He sent surveys to missionaries, travellers and naturalists enquiring: ‘Is contempt expressed by a slight protrusion of the lips?’, ‘Is extreme fear expressed in the same general manner as with Europeans?’… Their replies, given with ‘unwearied kindness’, convinced Darwin beyond doubt that ‘the several races [are] descended from a single parent-stock’. In 1872, an era dominated by scientific racism, this was a bold statement indeed.
The book was remarkable for another reason, too. It was the first to use photography to illustrate scientific arguments and the images included are extraordinary: babies crying, ladies grimacing, actors feigning emotions, and (most chillingly of all) an asylum patient ‘galvanized’ into an expression of horror – electrodes still hanging from his face.
Also included in this edition is Darwin’s Autobiography, written as a private document at the height of his fame.
‘[An] extraordinary tour de force of observation…’