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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Crichton-Browne   2 November [1871]1


Nov. 2,

My dear Sir

I have some reason to believe, but have found it extremely difficult to get observations made, that the Platysma is very apt to contract during a rigor or shivering fit.2 If you have ever the chance to observe a patient in this state, will you kindly observe the muscle. I am just recommencing on my essay on Expression.3

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin.


The year is established by the reference to Expression (see n. 3, below).
CD had been investigating whether the platysma muscle contracted during the expression of fear and during shivering (see letter to Hubert Airy, 5 April [1871], and letter to William Ogle, 13 April [1871]).
In his ‘Journal’ (Appendix II), CD wrote that he had finished a ‘draft copy’ of Expression on 27 April 1871, and that he resumed work on the manuscript in November.


Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Asks JC-B to observe whether platysma muscle contracts during rigor or shivering fit.

Is just recommencing his essay on expression.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Crichton-Browne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 340
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8047,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19