Leo Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi

Leo
Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi
1828
1910

Russian Essayist, Realistic Fiction Novelist and Playwright, best known for novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina"

Author Quotes

What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit to their cruelty.

What's this? Am I falling? My legs are giving way under me, he thought, and fell on his back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the struggle of the French soldiers with the artilleryman was ending, and eager to know whether the red-haired gunner artilleryman was killed or not, whether the cannons had been taken or saved. But he saw nothing of all that. Above him there was nothing but the sky ? the lofty sky, not clear, but still immeasurably lofty, with gray clouds creeping quietly over it.

When the Indians complain that the English have enslaved them it is as if drunkards complained that the spirit-dealers who have settled among them have enslaved them. You tell them that they might give up drinking, but they reply that they are so accustomed to it that they cannot abstain, and that they must have alcohol to keep up their energy. Is it not the same thing with the millions of people who submit to thousands or even to hundreds, of others ? of their own or other nations? If the people of India are enslaved by violence it is only because they themselves live and have lived by violence, and do not recognize the eternal law of love inherent in humanity.

Wisdom needs no violence...As it is we have played at war ? that?s what?s vile! We play at magnanimity and all that stuff. Such magnanimity and sensibility are like the magnanimity and sensibility of a lady who faints when she sees a calf being killed: she is so kindhearted that she can?t look at blood, but enjoys eating the calf served up with sauce?If there was none of this magnanimity in war, we should go to war only when it was worthwhile going to certain death, as it is now. Then there would not be war because Paul Ivanovich had offended Michael Ivanovich.

What is bad? What is good? What should one love, what hate? Why live, and what am I? What is lie, what is death? What power rules over everything? he asked himself. And there was no answer to any of these questions except one, which was not logical and was not at all an answer to these questions. This answer was: You will die--and everything will end. You will die and learn everything--or stop asking.

When a man sees a dying animal, horror comes over him: that which he himself is, his essence, is obviously being annihilated before his eyes--is ceasing to be. But when the dying one is a person, and a beloved person, then, besides a sense of horror at the annihilation of life, there is a feeling of severance and a spiritual wound which, like a physical wound, sometimes kills and sometimes heals, but always hurts and fears any external, irritating touch.

When the woman showed her love for the children that were not her own, and wept over them, I saw in her the living God, and understood What men live by.

With 6 children Darya Alexandrovna could not be calm. One got sick, another might get sick, a third lacked something, a fourth showed signs of bad character, and so on, and so on. Rarely, rarely would there be short periods of calm but these troubles and anxieties were for Darya Alexandroyna the only possible happiness. Had it not been for them, she would have remained alone with her thoughts of her husband, who did not love her. But besides that, however painful the mother's fear of illnesses, the illnesses themselves, and the distress at seeing signs of bad inclinations in her children, the children themselves repaid her griefs with small joys. These joys were so small that they could not be seen, like gold in the sand, and in her bad moments she saw only griefs, only sand; but there were also good moments, when she saw only joys, only gold. Now, in her country solitude, she was more aware of these joys. Often, looking at them, she made every possible effort to convince herself that she was mistaken, that as a mother she was partial to her children; all the same, she could not but tell herself that she had lovely children, all 6 of them, each in a different way, but such as rarely happens - and she was happy in them in them and proud of them.

What is now happening to the people of the East as of the West is like what happens to every individual when he passes from childhood to adolescence and from youth to manhood.

When a person inflates his own importance, he does not see his own sins; and his sin get bigger right along with him.

When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you'd like them to be.

With all my soul I wished to be good, but I was young, passionate and alone, completely alone when I sought goodness. Every time I tried to express my most sincere desire, which was to be morally good, I met with contempt and ridicule, but as soon as I yielded to low passions I was praised and encouraged.

What is precious is not the reward but the work. And I wish you to understand that. If you work and study in order to get a reward, the work will seem hard to you; but when you work, if you love the work, you will find your reward in that.

When a person is haughty, he distances himself from other people and thereby deprives himself of one of life?s biggest pleasures?open, joyful communication with everyone.

When you understand that you will die to-morrow, if not to-day, and nothing will be left, then everything is so unimportant!... So one goes on living, amusing oneself with hunting, with work - anything so as not think of death

With eyes on Napoleon thought of the insignificance of greatness, the unimportance of life which no one understood subject in even greater insignificance of death whose meaning was hidden and impenetrable to humans.

What is reason given me for, if I am not to use it to avoid bringing unhappy beings into the world!

When an apple has ripened and falls, why does it fall? Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stalk withers, because it is dried by the sun, because it grows heavier, because the wind shakes it, or because the boy standing below wants to eat it?

Where did I get it from? Was it by reason that I attained to the knowledge that I must love my neighbour and not throttle him? They told me so when I was a child, and I gladly believed it, because they told me what was already in my soul. But who discovered it? Not reason! Reason has discovered the struggle for existence and the law that I must throttle all those who hinder the satisfaction of my desires. That is the deduction reason makes. But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.

With friends, one is well; but at home, one is better.

Well, pray if you like, only you'd do better to use your judgment.

What is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?... There is only one important time and that is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future? The most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life.

When an individual passes from one period of life to another a time comes when he cannot go on in senseless activity and excitement as before, but has to understand that although he has out-grown what before used to direct him, this does not mean that he must live without any reasonable guidance, but rather that he must formulate for himself an understanding of life corresponding to his age, and having elucidated it must be guided by it. And in the same way a similar time must come in the growth and development of humanity.

Where is there any book of the law so clear to each man as that written in his heart.

With the smugness of an end man on parade, he bounced along on his sinewy legs, effortlessly marching to attention, floating with a lightness of step remarkably different from the heavy tread of the soldiers keeping time with him. Down by his thigh he carried, unsheathed, a thin little sword ? it was a small curved sabre, for ceremonial use only ? and he looked and turned sideways to the commander and back to the men behind, without straining his big powerful frame or getting out of step. He seemed to strive with every fibre of his soul to march past his commander with maximum style, and his strong sense of doing this well made him a happy man. ?Left . . . left . . . left . . .? he seemed to be mouthing to himself at each alternate step, and that was the rhythm to which the solid wall of military men, weighed down by packs and guns, advanced; each face was different in its stern concentration, and each one of these hundreds of soldiers seemed to mouth his own ?Left . . . left . . . left . . .? at each alternate step

Author Picture
First Name
Leo
Last Name
Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi
Birth Date
1828
Death Date
1910
Bio

Russian Essayist, Realistic Fiction Novelist and Playwright, best known for novels "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina"