Lot 362
  • 362


40,000 - 60,000 GBP
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  • Darwin, Charles--Wilcox, Michael
  • Autograph manuscript leaf from The Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals,
  • ink on paper
giving examples of associative actions, with scattered revisions and two insertions, headed ("Ch. I") and paginated by Darwin (p.8), c.101 words on 12 lines, blue wove paper, 1 page, 4to leaf roughly cut at the foot (192 x 202mm), 1872, with one line of unrelated mathematical calculations on the verso, probably by G.H. Darwin, together with notes identifying the manuscript by later family members, slight spotting, mark on verso "...Everyone protects himself when falling to the ground by extending his arms, & as Prof. Alison has remarked few can desist acting thus, when falling voluntarily on a soft bed. A man often puts on his gloves quite unconsciously when going out of doors; & this may seem an extremely simple operation but as he who had taught a child to put on gloves knows that this it [sic] is by no means so simple..."


Charles Darwin; his daughter Henrietta ("Etty") Litchfield (1843-1927); her niece Margaret Keynes, née Darwin (1890-1974); thence by descent

Catalogue Note

A LEAF OF MANUSCRIPT FROM THE FINAL WORK IN DARWIN'S MAIN SERIES OF EVOLUTIONARY WRITINGS. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), which was originally intended as a single chapter in The Descent of Man, explored the evolutionary continuity between man and animals in their ability to feel and express emotions. It was a subject that had interested Darwin since he attended a discussion on emotional expression as an undergraduate in Edinburgh, and his developing ideas drew on growing bodies of evidence that came from reading, correspondence, his own research, and the innovative use of photography. Work was painstaking and troublesome, but Darwin was nonetheless able to complete the manuscript of the book in a period of just four months in early 1872. The current leaf forms part of the first chapter of the book, in which he suggests three fundamental principles that account for involuntary expressions and gestures. The first of these, "serviceable associated habits", describes actions that are "of direct or indirect service under certain states of the mind, in order to relieve or gratify certain sensations, desires, &c." (p.29) This portion of text appears on p.31 of the first edition with small stylistic changes following extensive revision in proof, as was commonly the case with Darwin's work. The instances given here form part of a series of examples that underline a crucial point in Darwin's argument, that "actions readily become associated with other actions and with various states of the mind" (p.31). This leaf includes charming domestic observations - notably his point at the difficulty of teaching children to put on gloves - that are characteristic of his alertness to simple points noticed in his daily life with his children, which few other Victorian scientists would have noticed or considered appropriate for a published work.  

WE HAVE NO RECORDS OF ANY MANUSCRIPT LEAF FROM THE EXPRESSION OF THE EMOTIONS HAVING APPEARED AT AUCTION. Substantial fragments of the manuscript are held in the Darwin papers at Cambridge University Library (notably MS DAR 17.1 A) and the Linnaean Society (four leaves donated by the Charles Darwin Trust), but other than this and the next lot no leaves are known to remain in private hands.