RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1874. Physiognomy. In Notes and queries on anthropology, for the use of travellers and residents in uncivilized lands. (Drawn up by a Committee appointed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.) London: Edward Stanford, pp. 12-13.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 9.2006, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 3.2007. RN4


[page] 12

No. IX.—PHYSIOGNOMY.1

By C. DARWIN, ESQ., F.R.S.

Observations on natives who have had little communication with Europeans would be of course the most valuable, though those made on any natives would be of much interest. General remarks on expression are of comparatively little value; and memory is so deceptive that it ought not to be trusted. A definite description of the countenance under any emotion or frame of mind, with a statement of the circumstances under which it occurred, would possess much value.

1. Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide, and by the eyebrows being raised? Are the open hands often raised high up, with the fingers widely separated, and the palms directed towards the person causing astonishment? Is the open mouth in some cases covered by the hand? or is the hand carried to some part of the head? 2. Does shame excite a blush when the colour of the skin allows it to be visible? and especially how low down the body does the blush extend? 3. When a man is indignant or defiant, does he frown, hold his body and head erect, square his shoulders and clench his fists? 4. When considering deeply on any subject, or trying to understand any puzzle, does he frown, or wrinkle the skin beneath the lower eyelids? 5. When in low spirits, are the corners of the mouth depressed, and the inner corner of the eyebrows raised by that muscle which the French call the "Grief muscle"? (The eyebrow in this state becomes slightly oblique, with a little

1 The table of contents, under 'Part I.—CONSTITUTION OF MAN' reads: 'IX. PHYSIOGNOMY. By C. DARWIN, ESQ., F.R.S.—Questions as to the expression of the countenance, natural gestures, blushing &c.' Earlier versions of these queries about expression were printed from 1867. See Freeman and Gautrey who examined the five then known in 1972 and 1975. This one was then unknown and it has additions not present in earlier versions. See [Darwin] 1867 and Darwin 1868. Answers to the pre-1872 queries were used in the writing of Expression where a list of 16 queries is given on pp. 15-16. See Correspondence vol. 15.

[page] 13

swelling at the inner end; and the forehead is transversely wrinkled in the middle part, but not across the whole breadth, as when the eyebrows are raised in surprise.) 6. When in good spirits do the eyes sparkle, with the skin a little wrinkled round and under them, and with the mouth a little drawn back at the corners? 7. When a man sneers or snarls at another, is the corner of the upper lip over the canine or eye tooth raised on the side facing the man whom he addresses? 8. Can a dogged or obstinate expression be recognized, which is chiefly shown by the mouth being firmly closed, a lowering brow, and a slight frown? 9. Is contempt expressed by a slight protrusion of the lips and by turning up the nose, with a slight expiration, or by the closure of the eyes, or by other gestures? 10. Is disgust shown by the lower lip being turned down, the upper lip slightly raised, with a sudden expiration, something like incipient vomiting, or like something spat out of the mouth? 11. Is extreme fear expressed in the same general manner as with Europeans? 12. Is laughter ever carried to such an extreme as to bring tears into the eyes? 13. When a man wishes to show that he cannot prevent something being done, or cannot himself do something, does he shrug his shoulders, turn inwards his elbows, extend outwards his hands and open the palms, with the eyebrows raised and mouth somewhat opened? 14. Do the children when sulky pout or greatly protrude the lips into a tubular form? Do they at the same time frown or utter any noise? 15. Can guilty, or sly, or jealous expressions be recognized? though I know not how these can be defined. 16. Is the head nodded vertically in affirmation, and shaken laterally in negation? or is the hand or finger so used?


This document has been accessed 6360 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

File last updated 2 July, 2012