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The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 28, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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" He who admits, on general grounds, that the structure and habits of all animals have been gradually evolved will look at the whole subject of Expression in a new and interesting light."
-Charles Darwin

About the Author

Charles Darwin a Victorian scientist and naturalist, has become one of the most famous figures of science to date. Born in 1809 to an upper-middle-class medical family, he was destined for a career in either medicine or the Anglican Church. However, he never completed his medical education and his future changed entirely in 1831 when he joined HMS Beagle as a self-financing, independent naturalist. On returning to England in 1836 he began to write up his theories and observations which culminated in a series of books, most famously On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, where he challenged and contradicted contemporary biological and religious beliefs with two decades worth of scientific investigation and theory. Darwin's theory of natural selection is now the most widely accepted scientific model of how species evolve. He died in 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Joe Cain is Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Biology at University College London (UCL). His expertise is in the history of evolutionary studies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Darwin and historical memory. He is also director of the "Voices" oral history project at UCL, and an expert on the Rhinogradentia, a spectacular group of mammals. His recent books include Descended from Darwin (2008) with Michael Ruse, Sewell Wright Taught Me (2007) and Exploring the Borderlands: Documents of the Committee on Common Problems of Genetics, Paleontology, and Systematics, 1943-1944 (2004).
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Original edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780141439440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439440
  • ASIN: 0141439440
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was written by Charles Darwin and published in 1872, and deals with how both humans and animals express emotions. It contains material that he gathered while writing his book on human evolution, The Descent of Man.

He states early on in the book, "No doubt as long as man and all other animals are viewed as independent creations, an effectual stop is put to our natural desire to investigate as far as possible the causes of Expression ... He who admits on general grounds that the structure and habits of all animals have been gradually evolved, will look at the subject of Expression in a new and interesting light."

He articulates three general principles which "throw light on the theory of the subject," namely, "The principle of serviceable associated Habits," "The principle of Antithesis," and "The principle of actions due to the constitution of the Nervous System."

Many of Darwin's observations are interesting, such as: "(T)he essence of savagery seems to consist in the retention of a primordial condition, and this occasionally holds good even with bodily pecularities." And "The expression here considered, whether that of a playful sneer or ferocious snarl, is one of the most curious which occurs in man. It reveals his animal descent..." And "Blushing is the most peculiar and the most human of all expressions."

This book will interest students of Darwin, and of the development of evolutionary theory.
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Darwin's meticulous documentation of variation and context is on display in this rich text on expressions of emotions in humans and animals. Darwin is a close observer of his world, and a generous author. It is difficult to take this book in at once, but it was Darwin's intention for readers to refer to it often rather than reading it cover to cover at once. And this seems obvious from the incredible amount of details that goes into each observation and described emotion, from the hunch of a dog's back, to the placement of her ears, and the same for babies' faces, and others. It is a great addition to any library, but especially to one dedicated to understanding the natural world and humans' relationship to other organisms.
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This is a book to read slowly,Darwin invested his whole life to observation of our world and the creatures that inhabit it including us. Expresion of emotions is a excellent way to see those things that are second nature to us in a different ligth. Read it and the next time you see a child laugh or cry it will be in another perspective. I am a lawyer and this book has iluminated thoughts on why we take demeanor so seriously. It also has the finest description,and foundation for a defense against any type of torture. You cant go wrong with Penguin Classics.
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Published in 1872, this book conforms together with "On the origin of species" (1858) and "The descent of man" (1871) a primordial text of huge value. Its scientific importance resides in showing the genetical aspects determined with behaviour.

Darwin makes an impressive journey around the body language, instincts, facial expressions and how they interelate themselves into the semiotic lexicon. In this sense, C.D preceeds by far the complex universe of behavioural psychology, paving the way for the whole development of this fascinating scientific discipline.

Darwin points to a shared human and animal ancestry in sharp contrast to the arguments deployed in Charles Bell's Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression (1824) which claimed that there were divinely created human muscles to express uniquely human feelings. Bell's famous aphorism on the subject was: "expression is to the passions as language is to thought".

You shouldn't miss this erudite, captivating and revealing book.
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When one can observe directly , it becomes plainly evident, so even a layman can understand it. Darwin and his colleagues have given us a gift with this research, and only the most hard core creationists would attempt to refute the evidence, that humans and animals have long shared common traits, that do meet the eye, when observing the emotional expressions .
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