RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1867. Queries about expression. [N.p.: publisher or printer].

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2007. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. The copy scanned is from the American Philosophical Society collection and is reproduced with permission.

Copies of Darwin's offprint on expression were sent to correspondents around the world. See Correspondence vol. 15. Darwin's 'Queries about expression' can be found in Darwin 1867, [Darwin] 1867, Darwin 1868, CUL-DAR53.1.B2, CUL-DAR186.1, APS-B-D25.335 and Expression pp. 15-16. On these see Freeman and Gautrey 1972, 1975 and Freeman 1977. The volume CUL-DAR186 contains answers to 'Queries about expression' summarised by subject (contempt, good spirits, indignation etc.) and geographically (Australia, Brazil, China etc.), research leading to Expression (F1142). A later version is in Darwin 1874. See van Wyhe, Comparison of three versions of Darwin's 'Queries about expression'.


(1.) Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide, and by the eyebrows being raised?

(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 swelling at the inner end; and the forehead is transversly 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 skill 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 shewn 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?

(10.) Is disgust shewn 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 shew 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?

(14.) Do the children when sulky, pout or greatly protrude the lips?

(15.) Can guilty, or sly, or jealous expressions be recognized? though I know not how these can be defined.

(16.) As a sign to keep silent, is a gentle hiss uttered?

(17. ) Is the head nodded vertically in affirmation, and shaken laterally in negation?

Observations on natives who have had little communication with Europeans would be of course most valuable, though those made on any natives would be of much interest to me.

General remarks on expression are of comparatively little value; and memory is so deceptive that I earnestly beg it may not 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. An answer within six or eight months, or even a year, to any single one of the foregoing questions would be gratefully accepted. In sending answers, the questions need not be copied, but reference may be made to the numbers of each query.



1 This copy is from APS-B-D25.335. See Freeman and Gautrey 1972 and 1975 and [Darwin] 1867 and 1868. Answers to the queries were used in the writing of Expression, where a list of 16 queries is given on pp. 15-16. See Correspondence vol. 15.

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