Tolstoy's smiles

Damasio distinguishes emotion from feeling and describes the former as visible bodily reactions. He allows that facial features such as smiles can be considered in this emotion category, and mentions how actors can learn to express these emotions physically. He cites cases of people trained to produce the body features of an emotion who then begin to experience the comparable feeling. In class we asked a question concerning the reverse possibility -- can a person who experiences a particular feeling succeed in hiding the visible bodily characteristics of the emotion that precedes that feeling? Following are two excerpts from Anna Karenina, written in 1877, that suggest Tolstoy was very familiar with the difficulties of hiding one's emotions.

There happened to him at that instant what happens to people when they are unexpectantly caught in something very disgraceful. He did not succeed in assuming an expression suitable to the position in which he was placed by his wife’s discovery of his guilt. Instead of acting hurt, denying, defending himself, begging forgiveness, instead of remaining indifferent (anything would have better than what he did), his face utterly involuntarily (reflex action of the brain, reflected Stepan Arkadyevich, who was fond of physiology)—utterly involuntarily assumed its habitual, good-humored, and therefore foolish smile.

This first passage is from the opening chapter of Tolstoy's book. The passage below, from Chapter 18 of Part 1, describes the first time that Anna encounters Vronsky, who will eventually become her lover.

Her brilliant grey eyes, darker because of her thick lashes, rested on his face for a moment and gave him a friendly and attentive look, as though recognizing him, and then at once turned to the approaching crowd as if in search of someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation of her face, which seemed to flutter between her brilliant eyes and the barely perceptible smile that curved her red lips. It was as though her entire being were brimming over with something that against her will expressed itself now in the sparkle of her eyes, now in her smile. She deliberately extinguished the light in her eyes, but it gleamed in spite of her in her barely perceptible smile.