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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Anton Dohrn   2 June [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

June 2d

My dear Sir

I must write two or three lines to thank you for the extremely kind manner in which you have reviewed my book on Expression in the Academy.2 I have been greatly interested by your article; & your remarks on the necessity of tracing the development of functions strike as novel & very valuable.3

With my renewed thanks & hearty respect | Yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

I was very glad to see the other day so good a report of your work at Naples.4


The year is established by the reference to Dohrn’s review of Expression (see n. 2, below).
Dohrn’s review appeared in the Academy, 2 June 1873, pp. 209–12.
Dohrn praised Expression for providing an evolutionary account of physiological function (ibid., pp. 211–12). Dohrn was critical of approaches to physiology in Germany in which questions of morphology and development were excluded in an attempt to model physiology on more ‘exact’ sciences, such as physics and chemistry (see also letter from Anton Dohrn, 7 June 1873, and Nyhart 1995, pp. 67–80).
CD may refer to the article in the 29 May 1873 issue of Nature on the zoological station at Naples (Dohrn 1873).


Dohrn, Anton. 1873. The Zoological Station at Naples. Nature, 29 May 1873, p. 81.

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

Nyhart, Lynn K. 1995. Biology takes form. Animal morphology and the German universities, 1800–1900. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.


Thanks AD for kind review of Expression. AD’s remarks on necessity of tracing development of functions are novel and valuable.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Felix Anton (Anton) Dohrn
Sent from
Source of text
Bibliothèque de Genève (D.O. autogr. 12/50)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8933,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21