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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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: sufferings are misfortunes, said Pierre. 'But if at once this minute, I was asked, would I remain what I was before I was taken prisoner, or go through it all again, I should say, for God's sake let me rather be a prisoner and errant horseflesh again. We imagine that as soon as we are torn out of our habitual path all is over, but it is only the beginning of something new and good. As long as there is life, there is happiness. There is a great deal, a great deal before us.

To every administrator, in peaceful, unstormy times, it seems that the entire population entrusted to him moves only by his efforts, and in this consciousness of his necessity every administrator finds the chief rewards for his labors and efforts. It is understandable that, as long as the historical sea is calm, it must seem to the ruler-administrator in his frail little bark, resting his pole against the ship of the people and moving along with it, that his efforts are moving the ship. But once a storm arises, the sea churns up, and the ship begins to move by itself, and then the delusion is no longer possible. The ship follows its own enormous, independent course, the pole does not reach the moving ship, and the ruler suddenly, from his position of power, from being a source of strength, becomes an insignificant, useless, and feeble human being.

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.

We must not only cease our present desire for the growth of the state, but we must desire its decrease, its weakening.

This child, with his naive outlook on life was the compass which showed them the degree of their departure from what they knew but did not want to know.

To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed through words, so to convey this so that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.

Universal military service may be compared to the efforts of a man to prop up his falling house who so surrounds it and fills it with props and buttresses and planks and scaffolding that he manages to keep the house standing only by making it impossible to live in it.

We always seem to love us for what we are good. And do not guess, they love us because good ones who love us.

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"