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


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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: 7.9 x 5 x 1 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: #194,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" 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 was born in 1809 to an upper-middle-class medical family. He was destined for a career in either medicine or the Anglican Church but never completed his medical studies: his future changed entirely in 1831 when he joined HMS Beagle as a 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. 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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 9, 2009
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Primo Rodriguez Perez on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on January 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
When Charles Darwin in 1859 finally made public his theory of evolution by natural selection in “On the Origin of Species”, he avoided writing about human evolution, except for saying that “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”

But by the early 1870s he felt confident enough to openly discuss the evolution of humans from animals. He did this in “The Descent of Man” (1871) and in this book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals” (1872).

In “The Expression of Emotions” Darwin’s main aim was to show that humans are not separate from animals. He shows the origins of human facial expressions in the animal world, and he argues that human expressions are innate and universal (the same in all cultures).

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Darwin’s ideas. But in my view it is not Darwin at his best. It has been pointed out that there are two main weaknesses in the book. Firstly, Darwin focuses mainly on the emotional roots of facial expressions and says too little about the role of expressions in communication.

Secondly, despite having developed the revolutionary (and correct) theory of natural selection as the mechanism for evolutionary change, Darwin mistakenly allowed a subsidiary role for the Lamarckian idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. This book is unfortunately full of examples of this latter idea.

In recent decades the book has also featured in controversies over the so-called “nature versus nurture” debate. Social anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that human facial expressions are learned, not innate, and that they vary from one culture to another.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on May 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Zavala on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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