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

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

Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Bonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist - I really believe he is Antichrist - I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my faithful slave, as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see I have frightened you - sit down and tell me all the news.

What is the matter with you? asked Shcherbatsky. Nothing much, but there is little to be happy about in this world. Little? You'd better come with me to Paris instead of going to some Mulhausen or other. You'll see how jolly it will be! No, I have done with that; it is time for me to die. That is a fine thing! said Shcherbatsky, laughing. I am only just beginning to live. Yes, I thought so too till lately; but now I know that I shall soon die. Levin was saying what of late he had really been thinking. He saw death and the approach of death in everything; but the work he had begun interested him all the more. After all, he had to live his life somehow, ?til death came. Everything for him was wrapped in darkness; but just because of the darkness, feeling his work to be the only thread to guide him through the darkness, he seized upon it and clung to it with all his might.

When he thought of her, he could call up a vivid picture of her to himself, especially the charm of that little fair head, so freely set on the shapely girlish shoulders, and so full of childish brightness and good humor. The childishness of her expression, together with the delicate beauty of her figure, made up her special charm, and that he fully realized. But what always struck him in her as something unlooked for, was the expression of her eyes, soft, serene, and truthful, and above all, her smile, which always transported Levin to an enchanted world, where he felt himself softened and tender, as he remembered himself in some days of his early childhood.

Where love is, there God is also.

Without knowledge of what I am and why I am here, it is impossible to live, and since I cannot know that, I cannot live either. In an infinity of time, in an infinity of matter, and an infinity of space a bubble-organism emerges while will exist for a little time and then burst, and that bubble am I.

Those whom God wishes to destroy he drives mad.

To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business.

War is not a courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that, and not play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be war and not a game. As it is now, war is the favorite pastime of the idle and frivolous.

We exchanged disagreeable remarks. The impression of this first quarrel was terrible. I say quarrel, but the term is inexact. It was the sudden discovery of the abyss that had been dug between us.

Though it is possible to utter words only with the intention to fulfill the will of God, it is very difficult not to think about the impression which they will produce on men and not to form them accordingly. But deeds you can do quite unknown to men, only for God. And such deeds are the greatest joy that a man can experience.

To speak of it would be giving importance to something that has none.

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"