Leo Tolstoy quotes

Leo Tolstoy photo
442   7

Leo Tolstoy

Birthdate: 28. August 1828
Date of death: 7. November 1910
Other names: Лев Толстой, Lev Tolstoj, Lev N. Tolstoj

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy , usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations for Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and the fact that he never won is a major Nobel prize controversy.Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina , often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth , and Sevastopol Sketches , based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. Tolstoy's fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich , Family Happiness , and Hadji Murad . He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

In the 1870s Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession . His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. Tolstoy's ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You , were to have a profound impact on such pivotal 20th-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Tolstoy also became a dedicated advocate of Georgism, the economic philosophy of Henry George, which he incorporated into his writing, particularly Resurrection .

Works

Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

„How good is it to remember one's insignificance: that of a man among billions of men, of an animal amid billions of animals“

—  Leo Tolstoy

Last Diaries (1979) edited by Leon Stilman, p. 77
Context: How good is it to remember one's insignificance: that of a man among billions of men, of an animal amid billions of animals; and one's abode, the earth, a little grain of sand in comparison with Sirius and others, and one's life span in comparison with billions on billions of ages. There is only one significance, you are a worker. The assignment is inscribed in your reason and heart and expressed clearly and comprehensibly by the best among the beings similar to you. The reward for doing the assignment is immediately within you. But what the significance of the assignment is or of its completion, that you are not given to know, nor do you need to know it. It is good enough as it is. What else could you desire?

„If only free men would not rely on that which has no power, and is always fettered — upon external aids; but would trust in that which is always powerful and free — the truth and its expression!“

—  Leo Tolstoy

Source: Patriotism and Christianity http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Patriotism_and_Christianity (1896), Ch. 17
Context: Only the truth and its expression can establish that new public opinion which will reform the ancient obsolete and pernicious order of life; and yet we not only do not express the truth we know, but often even distinctly give expression to what we ourselves regard as false.
If only free men would not rely on that which has no power, and is always fettered — upon external aids; but would trust in that which is always powerful and free — the truth and its expression!

„One free man will say with truth what he thinks and feels amongst thousands of men who by their acts and words attest exactly the opposite. It would seem that he who sincerely expressed his thought must remain alone, whereas it generally happens that every one else, or the majority at least, have been thinking and feeling the same things but without expressing them.“

—  Leo Tolstoy

Source: Patriotism and Christianity http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Patriotism_and_Christianity (1896), Ch. 17
Context: One free man will say with truth what he thinks and feels amongst thousands of men who by their acts and words attest exactly the opposite. It would seem that he who sincerely expressed his thought must remain alone, whereas it generally happens that every one else, or the majority at least, have been thinking and feeling the same things but without expressing them.
And that which yesterday was the novel opinion of one man, to-day becomes the general opinion of the majority.
And as soon as this opinion is established, immediately by imperceptible degrees, but beyond power of frustration, the conduct of mankind begins to alter.
Whereas at present, every man, even, if free, asks himself, "What can I do alone against all this ocean of evil and deceit which overwhelms us? Why should I express my opinion? Why indeed possess one? It is better not to reflect on these misty and involved questions. Perhaps these contradictions are an inevitable condition of our existence. And why should I struggle alone with all the evil in the world? Is it not better to go with the stream which carries me along? If anything can be done, it must be done not alone but in company with others."
And leaving the most powerful of weapons — thought and its expression — which move the world, each man employs the weapon of social activity, not noticing that every social activity is based on the very foundations against which he is bound to fight, and that upon entering the social activity which exists in our world every man is obliged, if only in part, to deviate from the truth and to make concessions which destroy the force of the powerful weapon which should assist him in the struggle. It is as if a man, who was given a blade so marvelously keen that it would sever anything, should use its edge for driving in nails.
We all complain of the senseless order of life, which is at variance with our being, and yet we refuse to use the unique and powerful weapon within our hands — the consciousness of truth and its expression; but on the contrary, under the pretext of struggling with evil, we destroy the weapon, and sacrifice it to the exigencies of an imaginary conflict'.

„Not only does the action of Governments not deter men from crimes; on the contrary, it increases crime by always disturbing and lowering the moral standard of society.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, The Meaning of the Russian Revolution

The Meaning of the Russian Revolution (1906), a work about the 1905 Russian Revolution.
Context: Not only does the action of Governments not deter men from crimes; on the contrary, it increases crime by always disturbing and lowering the moral standard of society. Nor can this be otherwise, since always and everywhere a Government, by its very nature, must put in the place of the highest, eternal, religious law (not written in books but in the hearts of men, and binding on every one) its own unjust, man-made laws, the object of which is neither justice nor the common good of all but various considerations of home and foreign expediency.

„I have now understood that though it seems to men that they live by care for themselves, in truth it is love alone by which they live. He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, book What Men Live By

Source: What Men Live By (1881), Ch. XII
Context: And the angel's body was bared, and he was clothed in light so that eye could not look on him; and his voice grew louder, as though it came not from him but from heaven above. And the angel said:
I have learnt that all men live not by care for themselves, but by love.
It was not given to the mother to know what her children needed for their life. Nor was it given to the rich man to know what he himself needed. Nor is it given to any man to know whether, when evening comes, he will need boots for his body or slippers for his corpse.
I remained alive when I was a man, not by care of myself, but because love was present in a passer-by, and because he and his wife pitied and loved me. The orphans remained alive, not because of their mother's care, but because there was love in the heart of a woman a stranger to them, who pitied and loved them. And all men live not by the thought they spend on their own welfare, but because love exists in man.
I knew before that God gave life to men and desires that they should live; now I understood more than that.
I understood that God does not wish men to live apart, and therefore he does not reveal to them what each one needs for himself; but he wishes them to live united, and therefore reveals to each of them what is necessary for all.
I have now understood that though it seems to men that they live by care for themselves, in truth it is love alone by which they live. He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.

„Learn What dwells in man, What is not given to man, and What men live by.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, book What Men Live By

Source: What Men Live By (1881), Ch. IV
Context: Go — take the mother's soul, and learn three truths: Learn What dwells in man, What is not given to man, and What men live by. When thou hast learnt these things, thou shalt return to heaven.

„I have learnt that all men live not by care for themselves, but by love.“

—  Leo Tolstoy, book What Men Live By

Source: What Men Live By (1881), Ch. XII
Context: And the angel's body was bared, and he was clothed in light so that eye could not look on him; and his voice grew louder, as though it came not from him but from heaven above. And the angel said:
I have learnt that all men live not by care for themselves, but by love.
It was not given to the mother to know what her children needed for their life. Nor was it given to the rich man to know what he himself needed. Nor is it given to any man to know whether, when evening comes, he will need boots for his body or slippers for his corpse.
I remained alive when I was a man, not by care of myself, but because love was present in a passer-by, and because he and his wife pitied and loved me. The orphans remained alive, not because of their mother's care, but because there was love in the heart of a woman a stranger to them, who pitied and loved them. And all men live not by the thought they spend on their own welfare, but because love exists in man.
I knew before that God gave life to men and desires that they should live; now I understood more than that.
I understood that God does not wish men to live apart, and therefore he does not reveal to them what each one needs for himself; but he wishes them to live united, and therefore reveals to each of them what is necessary for all.
I have now understood that though it seems to men that they live by care for themselves, in truth it is love alone by which they live. He who has love, is in God, and God is in him, for God is love.

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„The happiness of men consists in life. And life is in labor.“

—  Leo Tolstoy

What Is To Be Done? (1886) Chap. XXXVIII, as translated in The Novels and Other Works of Lyof N. Tolstoï (1902) edited by Nathan Haskell Dole, p. 259

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Mikhail Lermontov photo
Mikhail Lermontov33
Russian writer, poet and painter
Fyodor Dostoyevsky photo
Fyodor Dostoyevsky140
Russian author
Aleksandr Pushkin photo
Aleksandr Pushkin33
Russian poet
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky photo
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky4
Russian composer
Mikhail Bakunin photo
Mikhail Bakunin54
Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collect…
Bettina von Arnim photo
Bettina von Arnim1
German writer
Stendhal photo
Stendhal50
French writer
José Maria Eça de Queiroz photo
José Maria Eça de Queiroz14
Portuguese writer
Honoré de Balzac photo
Honoré de Balzac149
French writer
Today anniversaries
Suman Pokhrel photo
Suman Pokhrel41
Nepali poet, lyricist, playwright, translator and artist 1967
Stephen King photo
Stephen King727
American author 1947
Arthur Schopenhauer photo
Arthur Schopenhauer259
German philosopher 1788 - 1860
Chief Joseph photo
Chief Joseph16
Nez Percé Chieftain 1840 - 1904
Another 57 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Mikhail Lermontov photo
Mikhail Lermontov33
Russian writer, poet and painter
Fyodor Dostoyevsky photo
Fyodor Dostoyevsky140
Russian author
Aleksandr Pushkin photo
Aleksandr Pushkin33
Russian poet
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky photo
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky4
Russian composer