Charles Darwin – Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1890 second edition)

Charles Darwin's Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Penguin Classics), 1890 second edition, edited by Professor Joe Cain and Dr Sharon Messenger ISBN 9780141439440

Charles Darwin, 1890. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Second edition. (Penguin Classics) Edited by Joe Cain and Sharon Messenger. ISBN 978-0141439-44-0.First published in 1872, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was a book at the very heart of Charles Darwin‘s research interests – a central pillar of his ‘human’ series. This book engaged some of the hardest questions in the evolution debate, and it showed the ever-cautious Darwin at his boldest. If Darwin had one goal with Expression, it was to demonstrate the power of his theories for explaining the origin of our most cherished human qualities: morality and intellect. A new edition, via Penguin Classics, reprints Darwin’s famous second edition of this book, with historical introduction, fresh images, and additional notes for researchers.

Review of Expression of Emotions

“WOW!! I am really impressed…The research is excellent, the writing outstanding, the coverage spot on and the suggestion about Huxley’s motives in taking up the Darwin gauntlet is brilliant and I do not think I have seen it elsewhere. Well done indeed!”

What’s special in this edition of Expression of Emotions?

Dozens of Darwin reprints are now in print. What makes the Penguin Classics edition special?

Our Penguin Classics edition reprints the rarely examined 1890 “second” edition of Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. This includes additions and alterations made by Charles’ son, Francis Darwin. The Penguin Classics edition includes:

  • Introduction by Professor Joe Cain that creates a historical context for this book and provides important bibliographical information. 
  • Appendix 1 presents original translations of quotations from French sources used by Darwin in the book.
  • Appendix 2 presents the full text of the questionnaire Darwin sent around the world in search of comparative information about human expression. 
  • Appendix 3 provides detailed information about the images specially selected for this edition. Darwin’s own index completes the volume.

Book details

Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Penguin Classics). Edited by Joe Cain and Sharon Messenger. ISBN 978-0141439-44-0.

Expression of Emotions

Don’t forget the photographs! This edition of Expression contains 24 specially selected images from Darwin’s own research collection – images he compiled while studying expression. These survive in his archives and are rarely seen by non-specialists. These images show the range of sources Darwin consulted. They also show the difficulties in studying expression before the age of high-speed photography and controlled experiment.


Charles Robert Darwin was born in 1809. Formal education failed to leave much of an impression on young Charles. Pressured by his father to enter a respectable profession, Charles tried medicine in Edinburgh, then theology in Cambridge. Neither went well. Charles preferred spending his days rambling, collecting, and shooting. Five years on HMS Beagle transformed Darwin and his focus. He committed himself to becoming a gentleman of science, specialising in geology and natural history. Darwin built his career through London’s scientific societies between 1837 and 1842, then moved with his wife and growing family to Down. Two hundred years later, Darwin is remembered as a theorist. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) and Descent of Man (1871) are landmark books. Darwin is less well remembered as the important empirical research he pursued for most of his life. This included detailed studies of coral reefs, barnacles, orchids, expression of human emotions, amongst other topics. These studies added to the foundations of his theories. They also stood on their own as original and thorough contributions to knowledge. Far from the recluse of popular myth, Darwin maintained extensive correspondence, frequently travelled, and received many visitors. He died in 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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

Sharon Messenger received her PhD in social history from the University of Liverpool. She is a Senior Research Assistant at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London. With Michael Neve, she co-edited Darwin’s Autobiographies (2002), also for Penguin Classics. She was an assistant editor on the Oxford dictionary of scientific quotations (2005). Currently, she serves as a research assistant for the Livingstone Online correspondence project, and she’s investigating Darwin’s pets.


1809 12th February: born at The Mount, Shrewsbury, son of the physician Robert Waring Darwin (1766-1848) and Susannah, née Wedgwood (1765-1817)

1817 starts at a day school in Shrewsbury run by Mr George Case

1817 July: death of his mother

1818-1825 attends Shrewsbury School as a boarder

1825-1827 studies medicine at Edinburgh University, leaves in April 1827 without completing his studies

1828 January: enters Christ’s College, Cambridge and prepares for a career in The Church of England, graduates with a BA without honours in 1831

1831 HMS Beagle voyage departs from England, returns October 1836. On return, Darwin has decided to become a gentleman of science with geology his main interest

1837 March lets flat in London (36 Great Marlborough Street)

1837 election to Zoological Society of London

1838 election to Athenaeum Club

1839, 29th January: Marries Emma Wedgwood (1808-1896). Couple lets house in London (12 Upper Gower Street)

1839 election to Royal Society

1839 William Erasmus (1839-1914) born, first child. Darwin begins careful observations of infants, recording their habits and emotions in his research notebooks

1841 Anne Elizabeth (Annie) (1841-1851) born

1842 September: Darwin family moves to Down House in Kent

1842 Mary Eleanor (died only three weeks old) born

1843 Henrietta Emma (1843-1929) born

1845 George Howard (1845-1912) born

1847 Elizabeth (1847-1926) born

1848 Francis (1848-1925) born

1848 Charles’ father, Robert Waring Darwin, dies

1850 Leonard (1850-1943) born

1851 death of his eldest daughter, Annie, aged ten

1851 Horace (1851-1928) born

1856 Charles Waring (1856-1858) born

1859 November: first edition of On the Origin of Species published

1870 while writing Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin removes a bulky chapter on the expression of emotions from his manuscript. This is set aside for later work. The Descent of Man published in 1871

1871, 17th January: Darwin begins work on The Expression of the Emotions, after correcting proofs for Descent of Man. Writing takes four months. Afterwards, he turns to completing the sixth and final edition of Origin of Species.

1871 Henrietta marries and her fox terrier Polly attaches herself to Darwin

1871 Darwin meets the photographer Oscar Rejlander (1813-1875). Over the course of the year they correspond. Rejlander presents Darwin with over seventy photographs of human expression.

1872 The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals is published. 7,000 copies printed for 26th November release

1881 The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Actions of Worms. Darwin’s last book

1882, 19th April: dies. Later buried in Westminster Abbey

Further Reading

Darwin in general

Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: Voyaging, Vol. 1 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995)

Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, Vol. 2 (London: Jonathan Cape, 2002)

Frederick Burkhardt, Sydney Smith (eds), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985-ongoing)

Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992)

Edna Healey, Emma Darwin. The Wife of a Seminal Scientist (London: Headline, 2001)

Sandra Herbert, Charles Darwin Geologist (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005)

Randal Keynes, Annie’s Box. Charles Darwin, his Daughter and Human Evolution (London: Fourth Estate, 2001)

David Kohn (ed.), The Darwinian Heritage (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).

Michael Neve and Sharon Messenger (eds), with an introduction by Michael Neve, Autobiographies. Charles Darwin (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2002)

Michael Ruse, Charles Darwin (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008)

John Van Wyhe, Charles Darwin’s shorter publications (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Principal works by Darwin

Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries visited by H.M.S. ‘Beagle’ under the Command of Capt. FitzRoy, R.N., from 1832 to 1836 (London: Henry Colborn, 1839)

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murray, 1859)

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London: John Murray, 1871)

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (London: John Murray, 1872)

Key studies on Darwin and expression

Paul H. Barrett et al (ed.), A Concordance to Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986)

A. Barnett, ‘The Expression of the Emotions’ in S. A. Barnett (ed.), A Century of Darwin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958), 206-230

Janet Browne ‘Darwin and the Expression of the Emotions’ in David Kohn (ed.), The Darwinian Heritage(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 307-326

Janet Browne, ‘Darwin and the Face of Madness’ in W F Bynum, Roy Porter and Michael Shepherd (eds.), The Anatomy of Madness: Essays in the History of Psychiatry (London: Tavistock Publications, 1985), 151-165

Paul Ekman (ed.), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (London: HarperCollins, 1998)

Paul Ekman (ed.), Darwin and Facial Expression: A Century of Research in Review (Cambridge: Malor Books, 2006)

Paul Ekman ‘Duchenne and Facial Expression of Emotion’ in R.A. Cuthbertson (ed.), The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 270-284

B. Freeman and P. J. Gautrey, ‘Charles Darwin’s Queries about Expression’, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), 1972, 4: 207-219

Mark S. George, ‘Reanimating the Face: Early writings by Duchenne and Darwin on the Neurology of Facial Emotion Expression’, Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 1994, 3: 21-33

Lucy Hartley, Physiognomy and the Meaning of Expression in Nineteenth Century Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Philip Prodger ‘Photography and The Expression of the Emotions in Paul Ekman (ed.), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (London: HarperCollins, 1998)

Philip Prodger, An Annotated Catalogue of the illustrations of Human and Animal Expression from the Collection of Charles Darwin: An Early Case of the use of Photography in Scientific Research (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998)

S.J. Rachman (Introduction), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. (London: Friedman, 1979)

Original reviews of Darwin’s book

Bain, A. ‘Review of ‘Darwin on Expression:’ being a Postscript to The Senses and the Intellect (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1873). The most reflective review of Expression. Bain was far advanced in his own study and theorising about emotions, see especially the 1875 edition of The Emotions and the Will. A copy of this review is in Darwin’s personal papers.

anonymous. The Edinburgh Review 1873, 137: 492-528. A hostile review, rejecting Darwin’s evolutionary theory in general and dismissing this books as sloppy and trivial.

anonymous. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1873, 2: 444-446; and anonymous. The Athenæum Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music, and the Drama, 1872, no 2350 (09 November 1872): 591. These two reviews place Darwin’s interest in emotions into the context of long traditions within art and humanities.

Wallace, A. R. The Quarterly Journal of Science 1873, 3: 113-118. Indifferent and unimpressed, Wallace’s comments are a good example of where these two men departed in their views, especially on the origin of higher faculties in humans.