The Expression of the Emotions

An introduction by R. B. Freeman

This is an important member of the evolutionary set, and it was written, in part at least, as a confutation of the idea that the facial muscles of expression in man were a special endowment. Darwin had no personal research experience in the subject, but he had read widely and enquired of his scientific colleagues. He had also circulated, in 1867, his printed leaflet Queries about expression (Nos 871-876) to acquaintances who were in touch with primitive peoples. The replies to the Queries were drawn on heavily for the substance of the book, and a version of the Queries themselves is printed in it (pp. 15-16).

It is stated that Murray published 7,000 copies of the first edition on November 26, 1872, and that 5,267 were taken up at his autumn sale. However, there are two issues of the first edition and at least two states of the plates, with a third state in some copies of the tenth thousand of 1873. In the first issue, there are four leaves of preliminaries, the first being a blank before the title leaf, and the only signature is b on the fourth leaf. The last two signatures are 2B2 and 2C3, being three leaves of index and two leaves of integral advertisements; only 2B1 and 2C1 are signed. In the second issue there are three leaves of preliminaries, the blank being absent and the third leaf being signed b. The last two signatures are 2B1 and 2C4, with 2B1, 2C1 and 2C2 signed.

So far as I can see, there are no textual differences except for a misprint 'htat' in the first line of page 208 in the second issue. There are however four small points on the first page of the integral advertisements. In the first issue, the wavy rule below 'RECENT WORKS' runs from the right of the second E to the left of the O; there is a comma after 'Portrait' in the first entry; the second line of the first entry is not aligned to the right with the line above it; and in the second entry there is a comma after 'illustrations'. In the second issue, the wavy rule has been shifted about half a letter to the right; there is a full point after 'Portrait'; the second line is aligned to the right; and there is a full point after 'illustrations'. The last three points bring the first two advertisements up to the house practice used for the rest. The issue dated 1873 always has the same make up as the second issue of 1872 except that the integral advertisements (2C3-4) have been discarded in some copies.

In all three issues, the dropped title on page [1] reads 'On the expression . . .'. All were in standard cases, and cost 12s. The third issue may contain inserted advertisements dated as late as January 1883, showing that it remained in print after Darwin's death.

The 1872 issues have seven heliotype plates of which the first, second and sixth are folding. All seven exist in two states, one with the plates numbered in Arabic, the other numbered in Roman. In both, Arabic numerals are used to designate the individual photographs, but these differ both in structure and position in the two sets. All the plates bear the word 'Heliotype' except that it has been cut away from Plate V by the binder in some short copies with the Roman plates. The list of illustrations on page vi gives the plates with Roman numerals and on page 25 Darwin writes 'These plates are referred to by Roman numerals' as indeed they are throughout the text. It seems probable that the Arabic set was the earlier. The run was 7000 copies which is perhaps long for gelatine plates; they may have been replaced when wearing out or when the error was noticed. The two states seem to occur at random in the two issues of the text, and Darwin's own copy, at Cambridge, has the Roman, but I have never seen a mixed set.

A third state is found only in the three plates which are folding in the first two. The photographs have been rearranged and none of them fold. This state does not occur in the issues of 1872, but in that of 1873 these plates are folding in some copies and not folding in others; in both states they are numbered in Roman, and when folding are identical with those of the Roman plates of 1872.

A second edition appeared in 1890, and, in his preface to it, Francis Darwin writes that his father had accumulated notes on the subject which he had been unable to use because the first edition was not exhausted in his lifetime. He incorporates these notes as well as adding his own footnotes in brackets. This represents the final text, and the printings of 1901 and 1905, though reset, are not altered. Two recent American editions have contained introductions by such distinguished behaviourists as Margaret Mead and Konrad Lorenz, and there is a Brussels facsimile of 1969. It was translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Russian in Darwin's life time and into four further languages since. The second Dutch edition of 1890 incorporates Darwin's additions and corrections, but is not a translation of Francis Darwin's edition of the same year.

Click here for a full bibliographical list.

1872. The expression of the emotions in man and animals. Text Image PDF F1142

1873 [1872]. The expression of the emotions in man and animals. New York: Appleton. Image PDF F1143

1890. The expression of the emotions in man and animals. 2d ed. Edited by Francis Darwin. Text Image PDF F1146

1897. The expression of the emotions in man and animals. New York: D. Appleton. PDF F1152

[See also the modern '3d edition' of Expression with extensive commentary, Ekman 1989].


1939. 人及动物之表情. 周建侯译. 上海: 上海商务印书馆. PDF F1180a

1958. 人类和动物的表情. 周邦立译. 北京: 北京科学出版社. PDF F1180b

1999. 人与动物的情. 余人等译. 成都: 四川人民出版社. PDF F2128


1873. Het uitdrukken der gemoedsaandoeningen bij den mensch en de dieren. Image PDF F1182

1890. Het uitdrukken der gemoedsaandoeningen bij den mensch en de dieren. New edn. F1183 PDF


1874. L'Expression des émotions chez l'homme et les animaux. Image PDF F1184

1890. L'expression des Émotions chez l'homme et les animaux. 2d ed. Text Image PDF F1186


1872. Der Ausdruck der Gemüthsbewegungen bei dem Menschen und den Thieren. Image PDF F1187

1877. Der Ausdruck der Gemüthsbewegungen bei dem Menschen und den Thieren. 3d ed. Text Image PDF F1189


1873. А nevetésröl: Еву fejezet Darwin legújabb můvéböl. PDF F1849


1878. L'espressione dei sentimenti nell'uomo e negli animali. PDF F1200


1921. The expression of the emotions [in Japanese]. PDF F1202b


1873. Wyraz uczuć u człowieka i zwierząt. Image PDF F1203

1959. O wyrazie uczuć u człowieka i zwierząt. PDF F1204


1967. Expresia emoţiilor la om şi animale. Despre instinct. PDF F1205


1872. The expression of the emotions [in Russian]. PDF F1206


[c. 1902] La expressión de las emociones.
Vol. 1 Image PDF F1214.1
Vol. 2 F1214.2



From: Freeman, R. B. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d ed. Dawson: Folkstone.

NOTE: With thanks to The Charles Darwin Trust and Dr Mary Whitear for use of the Bibliographical Handlist. Copyright. All rights reserved. For private academic use only. Not for republication or reproduction in whole or in part without the prior written consent of The Charles Darwin Trust, 31 Baalbec Road, London N5 1QN.

Corrections and additions copyright John van Wyhe, The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online - National University of Singapore.


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