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

We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness. There is much, much before 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 tell the truth is very difficult, and young people are rarely capable of it.

War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.

We just destroy because we are spiritually fed. It is the children!

Though men in their hundreds of thousands had tried their hardest to disfigure that little corner of the earth where they had crowded themselves together, paving the ground with stones so that nothing could grow, weeding out every blade of vegetation, filling the air with the fumes of coal and gas, cutting down trees and driving away every beast and every bird -- spring, however, was still spring, even in the town. The sun shone warm, the grass, wherever it had not been scraped away, revived and showed green not only on the narrow strips of lawn on the boulevards but between the paving-stones as well, and the birches, the poplars and the wild cherry-trees were unfolding their sticky, fragrant leaves, and the swelling buds were bursting on the lime trees; the jackdaws, the sparrows and the pigeons were cheerfully getting their nests ready for the spring, and the flies, warmed by the sunshine, buzzed gaily along the walls. All were happy -- plants, birds, insects and children. But grown-up people -- adult men and women -- never left off cheating and tormenting themselves and one another. It was not this spring morning which they considered sacred and important, not the beauty of God's world, given to all creatures to enjoy -- a beauty which inclines the heart to peace, to harmony and to love. No, what they considered sacred and important were their own devices for wielding power over each other.

To us, it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander was firm, or because England's policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg was wronged. We cannot grasp what connection such circumstances have the with the actual fact of slaughter and violence: why because the Duke was wronged, thousands of men from the other side of Europe killed and ruined the people of Smolensk and Moscow and were killed by them.

War on the other hand is such a terrible thing, that no man, especially a Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of starting it.

We lost because we told ourselves we lost.

Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.

Today, nobody sees, or wishes to see, that in our time the enslavement of the majority of men is based on money taxes, levied on land and otherwise, which are collected by government from the subjects.

Was it by reason that I attained the knowledge that I must love my neighbor 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.

We love people not so much for the good they've done us, as for the good we've done them.

Three days later the little princess was buried, and Prince Andrew went up the steps to where the coffin stood, to give her the farewell kiss. And there in the coffin was the same face, though with closed eyes. Ah, what have you done to me? it still seemed to say, and Prince Andrew felt that something gave way in his soul and that he was guilty of a sin he could neither remedy nor forget.

True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions.

Was it not youth, the feeling he experienced now, when, coming out to the edge of the wood again from the other side, he saw in the bright light of the sun?s slanting rays Varenka?s graceful figure, in a yellow dress and with her basket, walking with a light step past the trunk of an old birch, and when this impression from the sight of Varenka merged with the sight, which struck him with its beauty, of a yellowing field of oats bathed in the slanting light, and of an old wood far beyond the field, spotted with yellow, melting into the blue distance? He felt his heart wrung with joy. A feeling of tenderness came over him. He felt resolved. Varenka, who had just crouched down to pick a mushroom, stood up with a supple movement and looked over her shoulder.

We measure the earth, sun, stars, and ocean depths. We burrow into the depths of the earth for gold. We search for rivers and mountains on the moon. We discover new stars and know their magnitudes. We sound the depths of gorges and build clever machines. Each day brings a new invention. What don?t we think of! What can?t we do! But there is something else, the most important thing of all, that we are missing. We do not know exactly what it is. We are like a small child who knows he does not feel well but cannot explain why. We are uneasy, because we know a lot of superfluous facts; but we do not know what is really important?ourselves.

To claim that the supernatural and irrational form the basic characteristics of religion is much the same as noticing only the rotten apples and then claiming that the basic features of the fruit named apple are a flaccid bitterness and a harmful effect produced in the stomach.

True science investigates and brings to human perception such truths and such knowledge as the people of a given time and society consider most important. Art transmits these truths from the region of perception.

Was it through reason that I arrived at the necessity of loving my neighbor and not throttling him?... Not reason. Reason discovered the struggle for existence and the law which demands that everyone who hinders the satisfaction of my desires should be throttled. That is the conclusion of reason. Reason could not discover love for the other, because it?s unreasonable.

We must live so as to not be afraid of death and did not want her.

They say that that's a difficult task, that nothing's amusing that isn't spiteful, he began with a smile. But I'll try. Get me a subject. It all lies in the subject. If a subject's given me, it's easy to spin something round it. I often think that the celebrated talkers of the last century would have found it difficult to talk cleverly now. Everything clever is so stale?

To educate the peasantry, three things are needed: schools, schools and schools.

Unfortunately not only were the rulers, who were considered supernatural beings, benefited by having the peoples in subjection, but as a result of the belief in, and during the rule of, these pseudodivine beings, ever larger and larger circles of people grouped and established themselves around them, and under an appearance of governing took advantage of the people. And when the old deception of a supernatural and God-appointed authority had dwindled away these men were only concerned to devise a new one which like its predecessor should make it possible to hold the people in bondage to a limited number of rulers.

Was serene. Her Moscow troubles had become a memory to her.

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"