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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Paolo Mantegazza1   23 December 1872

Florence

23 Décembre 1872.

Illustre ami.

Oh, laissez moi vous appeler mon ami, quoique je n’en aie pas le droit.— Je vous estime, je vous venère et je vous aime. Puisse la nature vous conserver un siecle à le science et à vos admirateurs! Vous devez vivre au moins comme Fontenelle et plus encore: vous en êtes digne, mille fois digne.2

Votre dernier livre m’a ravi;3 vous avez fait de la physiognomonie une nouvelle science: c’était jusqu’à aujourdhui une alchimie, qu’ avait Lavater pour son fondateur, vous en êtes le Lavoisier;—4 J’en ferai un long examen dans notre première Revue, et je vous en enverrai un exemplaire sous peu de jours.5 Je sais, qu’on en fera une traduction italienne,6 et s’il n’y avait pas des traducteurs, j’aurais été moi-même votre traducteur.

Je vous ai adressé, il y a déjà quelques jours deux brochures sur la douleur,7 où vous trouverez mes observations sur l’expression respiratoire de la douleur, et qui vont parfaitement d’accord avec ce que vous dites dans votre admirable ouvrage, qui a toute le verdeur d’un homme de vingt ans.— Je viens décrire à mon éditeur de vous envoyer un exemplaire de ma Physiologie du plaisir, qui a eu cinq éditions, dont la dernière stereotype. C’est un travail d’observation psychologique qui est très imparfait, car je l’ai écrit à 22 ans, mais vous trouverez à chaque chapitre la description de la physionomie de tous les plaisirs physiques et moraux.8

Depuis longtemps je m’occupe d’un travail sur la physionomie de la douleur et je vous demande la permission de vous le dedier.—9 Je vous communique quelques observations que j’ai fait dans mes voyages en Amerique10 et dans mon laboratoire.

1)J’ai vu deux fois dans le Paraguay le Mycetes carayá11 lâcher ses selles par épouvante, quand on tirait sur lui. C’est ce qui a donné occasion à la fable que quelques singes jettent sur le voyageur leurs excrements.

2)Je suis très persuadé que dans les plus fortes douleurs physiques l’homme ferme la bouche et retient l’haleine, car en produisant un leger degré d’asphyxie, la sensibilité générale est diminuée et la souffrance est soulagée.—12

3)Les offenses de l’amour propre, quand elles ne peuvent pas être demontrées par dehors obligent l’homme à une immobilité absolue des muscles de la face, et on avale de la salive, précisement comme quand on savoure des choses très amères. La physionomie prise par la photographie d’un homme qui a dans sa bouche de l’aloes est identique à l’expression que prend involontairement un homme quand il est humilié. J’ai trouvé d’autres analogies frappantes entre des douleurs physiques et des douleurs d’un ordre superieur, comme vous verrez dans mon album de photographies prises d’après nature.—13

Aimez moi un peu, en échange de la profonde affection que j ai pour vous et de la haute veneration que m’inspirent votre génie.

Votre | Devoué | Mantegazza

L’étude des langues demontre que ma théorie sur l’expression des douleurs de l’amour propre est juste. En espagnol, en italien et en français on dit trajar, ingoiare et avaler pour exprimer l’humiliation qui suit une offense.14

CD annotations

5.2 C’est … soulagée.— 6.3] scored blue crayon
9.1 L’étude … offense. 9.3] scored blue crayon

CD note:

Dedication

Translation

[Most Honour] & [flattering]

letter pleased me greatly

Very interesting letter

got your pamphlets posted

I had no idea that you had attended to subject— but clearly [case] as our minds agree so closely

I am the more pleased, as I feel that I am growing old & all letters are fatigue to me.15

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix I.
Bernard le Bouvier de Fontenelle, the French writer, died a month before his hundredth birthday.
Mantegazza’s name is on CD’s presentation list for Expression (see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix V).
Mantegazza implies that Johann Kaspar Lavater’s work on physiognomy (Lavater [1781]–1803) bore the same relation to Expression as alchemy did to chemistry. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was considered to be the founder of modern chemistry.
A lightly annotated copy of Mantegazza’s review of Expression in the December 1872 issue of Nuova Antologia (Mantegazza 1872b) is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD had received a request from two men for an Italian translation of Expression (see letter to John Murray, 11 November 1872 and n. 8).
Mantegazza 1866 and 1867b. There are annotated copies of these articles in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Mantegazza’s work on the physiology of pleasure (Fisiologia del piacere) was first published in 1854 (Mantegazza 1854). There is a lightly annotated copy of the fifth edition (Mantegazza 1870b) in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 563). Mantegazza’s publisher was Giuseppe Bernardoni, who has not been further identified.
Mantegazza’s work on the physiology of pain (Fisiologia del dolore) was not published until 1880 (Mantegazza 1880). The book was dedicated to Tullo Massarani.
Mantegazza had published an account of his travels in South America in Mantegazza 1867a.
Mycetes caraya, the black howler monkey, is now known as Alouatta caraya. In Expression, p. 146, CD had mentioned that monkey sometimes voided their excretions from fear.
In Expression, pp. 69–70, CD had stated that humans in agony compressed their lips and might hold their breath.
Mantegazza’s Atlante della espressioni del dolore (Mantegazza 1876) is an atlas of photographs showing expressions of pain.
The words mean ‘to swallow’, as in the English saying ‘to swallow an insult’.

Translation

From Paolo Mantegazza1   23 December 1872

Florence

23 December 1872.

Renowned friend.

Oh, let me call you my friend, although I don’t have the right to do so.— I esteem, venerate and love you. May nature preserve you for a century, for science and your admirers! You ought to live at least as long as Fontenelle and longer still: you are worthy of it, a thousand times worthy.2

Your latest work has overjoyed me;3 you have made a new science out of physiognomy: up to now it has been an alchemy with Lavater as its founder, you are its Lavoisier;—4 I shall be discussing it at length in our first Revue, and I shall send you a copy in a few days.5 I know that an Italian translation is being made,6 and if there were no translators, I would have been your translator myself.

Some days ago now, I posted you two pamphlets on pain, in which you will find my observations on the respiratory expression of pain,7 which accord perfectly with what you say in your admirable work, which has all the freshness of a man of twenty.— I have just written to my editor to send you a copy of my Physiology of pleasure, which has run to five editions, the last in stereotype. It is a work of psychological observation which is very imperfect, since I wrote it at the age of 22, but in every chapter you will find a description of the physiognomy of all the physical and moral pleasures.8

For a long time I have been busy with a work on the physiognomy of pain and I ask your permission to dedicate it to you.—9 Here are some observations that I have made during my travels in America10 and in my laboratory.

1)In Paraguay I saw Mycetes carayá11 twice void its bowels from terror after being shot. This is what gives rise to the myth that some monkeys throw their excrement onto travellers.

2)I am very persuaded that during the most intense physical pain man closes his mouth and holds his breath, since by producing a slight degree of asphyxia, general sensibility is diminished and suffering is assuaged.—12

3)Injuries to self-esteem, when they cannot be exhibited externally, oblige man to an absolute immobility of the facial muscles, and one swallows saliva, exactly as when tasting very bitter substances. The physiognomy of a man with aloes in his mouth, as captured by photography, is identical to the expression that a man takes on involuntarily when he is humiliated. I have found other striking analogies between physical pain and pain of a higher order, as you will see in my album of photographs taken from nature.—13

Love me a little, in return for the deep affection I have for you and the great veneration your genius inspires in me.

Yours | Most sincerely | Mantegazza

The study of languages demonstrates that my theory of the expression of injuries to self-esteem is right. In Spanish, Italian and French one says trajar, ingoiare and avaler to express the humiliation which follows an offence.14

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see pp. 584–5.
Bernard le Bouvier de Fontenelle, the French writer, died a month before his hundredth birthday.
Mantegazza’s name is on CD’s presentation list for Expression (see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix IV).
Mantegazza implies that Johann Kaspar Lavater’s work on physiognomy (Lavater [1781]–1803) bore the same relation to Expression as alchemy did to chemistry. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was considered to be the founder of modern chemistry.
A lightly annotated copy of Mantegazza’s review of Expression in the December 1872 issue of Nuova Antologia (Mantegazza 1872b) is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD had received a request from two men for an Italian translation of Expression (see letter to John Murray, 11 November 1872 and n. 8).
Mantegazza 1866 and 1867b. There are annotated copies of these articles in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Mantegazza’s work on the physiology of pleasure (Fisiologia del piacere) was first published in 1854 (Mantegazza 1854). There is a lightly annotated copy of the fifth edition (Mantegazza 1870b) in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 563). Mantegazza’s publisher was Giuseppe Bernardoni, who has not been further identified.
Mantegazza’s work on the physiology of pain (Fisiologia del dolore) was not published until 1880 (Mantegazza 1880). The book was dedicated to Tullo Massarani.
Mantegazza had published an account of his travels in South America in Mantegazza 1867a.
Mycetes caraya, the black howler monkey, is now known as Alouatta caraya. In Expression, p. 146, CD had mentioned that monkey sometimes voided their excretions from fear.
In Expression, pp. 69–70, CD had stated that humans in agony compressed their lips and might hold their breath.
Mantegazza’s Atlante della espressioni del dolore (Mantegazza 1876) is an atlas of photographs showing expressions of pain.
The words mean ‘to swallow’, as in the English saying ‘to swallow an insult’.

Summary

Ecstatic praise of CD and Expression, which has transformed physiognomy.

Sends his papers on sadness ["Dell’azione del dolore", Gaz. Med. Ital. Lombarda (1866, 1867)]. Sends some observations on physiognomy.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8692
From
Paolo Mantegazza
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Florence
Source of text
DAR 171: 39
Physical description
3pp (French) †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8692,” accessed on 25 June 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8692

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20

letter