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I was made aware of this book by a very entertaining seminar on human expression and FACS coding. As a biologist of course I had to buy this less well known book by Darwin.
As always, Darwin takes great care as he works his way through the origins and recognition of emotions in both man and animals. He tries to explain how they might have evolved. Darwin uses a wealth of references to back his ideas. Modern readers can find Victorian writers a bit heavy in the way they write but this is an enjoyable book if you read it in stages (as I am still doing!)
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts was Darwin's belief in the "inheritance of acquired characteristics", as proposed by Lamarck. Darwin could see nothing wrong with the idea that expressions in frequent use become acquired. It made me, as a biologist, aware that Darwin was a man of his time. We must not forget that there was no physical explanation at the time about how natural selection works on genes that are transferred to offspring. Darwin was unaware of Mendel's work, for example.
Darwin's work on the expression of emotions fell into disfavour in the 20th Century. The balance of scientific opinion swung towards a belief that cultural factors were more important. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. It is therefore a pleasure to find that many of Darwin's findings are being rediscovered and confirmed in new research.
The book includes comments by Paul Ekman. Paul is a modern expert, researcher and teacher in facial expression. This is great for the reader, who can then see how Darwin's work fits in with modern opinion. I should add that science is still actively debating the expression of emotions to this day!
An thoughtful book which is a great addition to your bookshelf.
This book is good, but its hard going because it has french during the paragraph your reading and its also diverts to what other discoverers opinions are on the matters discussed it flits a bit and if youve not studied for a while and are trying to study this subject its hard going but its very interesting when reading about how he studied peoples facial expressions in certain situations its so right i tended after reading this to watch people more carefully when they talked to spot certain expressions which tells you sometimes something totally different from what they are saying and the information in the book on the subjects been studied is facinating and i really did enjoy it just had to learn to skip read and pull out the info i was after, a clever man in all its a good book.
The brilliant Mr Darwin's words did their utmost to redeem this appalling sham of a version. Failure to provide any of the images which are integral to the text is unacceptable. The text routinely references and seeks to elucidate the meanings of expressions - all of which images are simply omitted. What is more, the merging of (mostly incomplete) footnotes into the main body of the text detracted from its flow and readability and the regular typos and sentences left hanging was extremely . This is a cheap and nasty version of a no doubt brilliant original. Clearly the publishers/printers did not bother to read this poor imitation, as to do so would surely make them blush with shame!
Fascinating work, definitely the best edition to buy, with up-to-date explanations making it easier to follow and compare with more recent studies. Shows how Darwin was light years ahead of his time, scholarly but comprehensible for lesser mortals like me!