Tiffany Watt-Smith, ‘Darwin’s Flinch: Sensation Theatre and Scientific Looking in 1872’

Tiffany Watt-Smith won the Journal of Victorian Culture Graduate Prize Essay Competition, 2009.

Published in JVC 15.1, her fascinating article explores the similarities between scientific observation and theatrical spectatorship, beginning with Charles Darwin’s self-conscious recollection in his Expressions of the Emotions of how he flinched before a puff-adder at the London Zoological Gardens. The author examines how Darwin’s scientific meditation on emotional gesture and expression was influenced by sensational performances in the theatre and the ways in which he encouraged his readers to watch themselves emoting.

Further Reading:

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