Leo Tolstoy quotes
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 .
Quotes Leo Tolstoy
Bk. X, ch. 16
Source: War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869)
„And I understood that in man dwells Love! I was glad that God had already begun to show me what He had promised, and I smiled for the first time.“
Source: What Men Live By (1881), Ch. XI
Context: Then I remembered the first lesson God had set me: "Learn what dwells in man." And I understood that in man dwells Love! I was glad that God had already begun to show me what He had promised, and I smiled for the first time.
„God is that infinite All of which man knows himself to be a finite part.
God alone exists truly. Man manifests Him in time, space and matter.“
Entry in Tolstoy's Diary http://www.linguadex.com/tolstoy/chapter1.htm (1 November 1910)
Context: God is the infinite ALL. Man is only a finite manifestation of Him.
Or better yet:
God is that infinite All of which man knows himself to be a finite part.
God alone exists truly. Man manifests Him in time, space and matter. The more God's manifestation in man (life) unites with the manifestations (lives) of other beings, the more man exists. This union with the lives of other beings is accomplished through love.
God is not love, but the more there is of love, the more man manifests God, and the more he truly exists...
We acknowledge God only when we are conscious of His manifestation in us. All conclusions and guidelines based on this consciousness should fully satisfy both our desire to know God as such as well as our desire to live a life based on this recognition.
Source: Anna Karenina Notes
„There was no answer, except the general answer life gives to all the most complex and insoluble questions. That answer is: one must live for the needs of the day, in other words, become oblivious. To become oblivious in dreams was impossible now, at least till night-time; it was impossible to return to that music sung by carafe-women; and so one had to become oblivious in the dreams of life.“
Pt. 1, ch. 2
Source: Anna Karenina (1875–1877; 1878)
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Source: Anna Karenina
Bk. X, ch. 16
War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869)
„p>This divergence and perversion of the essential question is most striking in what goes today by the name of philosophy. There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: What must I do? Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition on the Christian nations. For example, in Kant´s Critique of Practical Reason, or in Spinoza, Schopenhauer and specially Rousseau.But in more recent times, since Hegel´s assertion that all that exists is reasonable, the question of what one must do has been pushed to the background and philosophy has directed its whole attention to the investigation of things as they are, and to fitting them into a prearranged theory. This was the first step backwards.The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants. According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. And finally, the third step was taken when the childish originality of Nietzsche´s half-crazed thought, presenting nothing complete or coherent, but only various drafts of immoral and completely unsubstantiated ideas, was accepted by the leading figures as the final word in philosophical science. In reply to the question: what must we do? the answer is now put straightforwardly as: live as you like, without paying attention to the lives of others.If anyone doubted that the Christian world of today has reached a frightful state of torpor and brutalization (not forgetting the recent crimes committed in the Boers and in China, which were defended by the clergy and acclaimed as heroic feats by all the world powers), the extraordinary success of Nietzsche´s works is enough to provide irrefutable proof of this. Some disjointed writings, striving after effect in a most sordid manner, appear, written by a daring, but limited and abnormal German, suffering from power mania. Neither in talent nor in their basic argument to these writings justify public attention. In the days of Kant, Leibniz, or Hume, or even fifty years ago, such writings would not only have received no attention, but they would not even have appeared. But today all the so called educated people are praising the ravings of Mr. N, arguing about him, elucidating him, and countless copies of his works are printed in all languages.</p“
Source: What is Religion, of What does its Essence Consist? (1902), Chapter 11
„I longed for activity, instead of an even flow of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to renounce self for the sake of my love. I was conscious of a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life. I had bouts of depression, which I tried to hide, as something to be ashamed of…My mind, even my senses were occupied, but there was another feeling – the feeling of youth and a craving for activity – which found no scope in our quiet life…So time went by, the snow piled higher and higher round the house, and there we remained together, always and for ever alone and just the same in each other’s eyes; while somewhere far away amidst glitter and noise multitudes of people thrilled, suffered and rejoiced, without one thought of us and our existence which was ebbing away.“
Worst of all, I felt that every day that passed riveted another link to the chain of habit which was binding our life into a fixed shape, that our emotions, ceasing to be spontaneous, were being subordinated to the even, passionless flow of time… ‘It’s all very well … ‘ I thought, ‘it’s all very well to do good and lead upright lives, as he says, but we’ll have plenty of time for that later, and there are other things for which the time is now or never.’ I wanted, not what I had got, but a life of challenge; I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to guide us in feeling.
Family Happiness (1859)
„William Lloyd Garrison took part in a discussion on the means of suppressing war in the Society for the Establishment of Peace among Men, which existed in 1838 in America. He came to the conclusion that the establishment of universal peace can only be founded on the open profession of the doctrine of non-resistance to evil by violence (Matt. v. 39), in its full significance, as understood by the Quakers, with whom Garrison happened to be on friendly relations. Having come to this conclusion, Garrison thereupon composed and laid before the society a declaration, which was signed at the time — in 1838 — by many members.“
The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)
„If the slave-owner of our times has no slave, John, whom he can send to the cesspool, he has five shillings, of which hundreds of such Johns are in such need that the slave-owner of our times may choose any one out of hundreds of Johns and be a benefactor to him by giving him the preference, and allowing him, rather than another, to climb down into the cesspool.“
Source: The Slavery of Our Times (1890), Chapter 8: Slavery Exists Among Us