The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 12:00am

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

by Charles Darwin

Harper Perennial


Why do we shrug our shoulders to indicate helplessness? Why do we cry? Why do we blush? People watchers will enjoy Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which has been repackaged with a new preface to celebrate the 200th birthday of the father of evolutionary biology. One of the first scientific books in English to use photographs, the volume contains images illustrating facial movements that signify, among other emotions, anger, fear, sadness and disgust. Darwin's objective was to show that the main human expressions are the same worldwide and that they had a natural origin. Not surprisingly he had detractors arguing against animal analogues. Says Paul Ekman, who introduces the book and signs off with an interesting afterword, 'Universality mattered to Darwin because it provided support for his theory of evolution'. First published in 1872, a year after The Descent of Man and 13 after On the Origin of Species, Expressions, Ekman believes, is the most accessible of Darwin's books, albeit his least known. Darwin's observations of his baby son are a definite bonus.




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