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Monday, 9 June 2014

Lots of smiles

Reading War and Peace. Volume I part I chapter 9. 
Too many smiles. I'm not accusing Tolstoy of misogyny, but the young women here smile a lot, perhaps a bit too much: Liza (wife of Andrey Bolkonsky), Helene Kuragina, Sonya (the cousin in the Rostov family), Julie Karagina, etc. Beautiful, charming but superficial, empty, stupid smiles. A bunch of foolish, empty-head girls who care about nothing but their own gowns and the young men's admiration. While the male characters discuss politics, they smile.
Anna Pavlovna Scherer also smiles a lot. Polite or affected smiles of a person of society. Diplomatic smiles. Countess Natalya Rostova seems to be the same type of person.
Then Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya. Please-do-me-a-favour smiles. 
Among the women and girls, the only one who so far doesn't strike me as being insincere, silly or hypocritical is Natasha (Rostova). She laughs more than smiles, and her laughs seem to be pure, good-natured, childlike.
The men don't smile very much. At least I only remember Pierre's smiles. Genuine, good-natured, partly apologetic.

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