Famous Quotes by Leo Tolstoy |Short Quotes by Leo Tolstoy| Famous Peoples English Quotes

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. Leo Tolstoy Born September 9, 1828, and Died on Died: November 20, 1910 (aged 82)

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was known for:

War and Peace (1869)

Anna Karenina (1877)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)

The Kreutzer Sonata (1889)

The Cossacks (1863)

Below are the Most Famous and Popular (528) Quotes by Leo Tolstoy.

  1. The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.
  2. To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of food that it is very good but that most people can’t eat it.
  3. All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
  4. For us, with the rule of right and wrong given us by Christ, there is nothing for which we have no standard. And there is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.
  5. He never chooses an opinion, he just wears whatever happens to be in style.
  6. Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
  7. The chief difference between words and deeds is that words are always intended for men for their approbation, but deeds can be done only for God.
  8. Man lives consciously for himself but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
  9. In historical events great men — so-called — are but labels serving to give a name to the event, and like labels, they have the least possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in a historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of the previous history, and predestined from all eternity.
  10. The purpose of life is to bring forth goodness. Now, in this life.
  11. He had the unlucky capacity many men have of seeing and believing in the possibility of goodness and truth, but of seeing the evil and falsehood of life too clearly to take any serious part in it.
  12. After Plotinus, says Schassler, fifteen centuries passed without the slightest scientific interest for the world of beauty and art. In reality, nothing of the kind happened. The science of aesthetics … neither did nor could vanish, because it never existed. … The Greeks were so little developed that goodness and beauty seemed to coincide. On that obsolete Greek view of life, the science of aesthetics was invented by men of the eighteenth century, and especially shaped and mounted in Baumgarten’s theory. The Greeks (as anyone may read in Bénard’s book on Aristotle and Walter’s work on Plato) never had a science of aesthetics.
  13. Reason unites us, not only with our contemporaries, but with men who lived two thousand years before us, and with those who will live after us.
  14. In historical events, great men—so-called—are but the labels that serve to give a name to an event, and like labels, they have the least possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in a historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of the previous history, and predestined from all eternity.
  15. People continued — regardless of all that leads man forward — to try to unite the incompatibles: the virtue of love, and what is opposed to love, namely, the restraining of evil by violence. And such a teaching, despite its inner contradiction, was so firmly established that the very people who recognize love as a virtue accept as lawful at the same time an order of life-based on violence and allowing men not merely to torture but even to kill one another.
  16. Science may fall back on its stupid excuse that science works for science, and that when it has been developed by the scientists it will become accessible to the people also; but art, if it be art, should be accessible to all, and particularly to those for whom it is produced. And the position of our art strikingly arraigns the producers of art for not wishing, not knowing how, and being unable, to serve the people.
  17. In Varenka, she realized that one has but to forget oneself and love others, and one will be calm, happy, and noble.
  18. A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred million. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men, not athletes but rather weak and ordinary people, have subdued two hundred million vigorous, clever, capable, and freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?
  19. The more he did nothing, the less time he had to do anything.
  20. Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious Idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, [play or] a game in which one releases surplus energy,… not the production of pleasing objects, and is above all, not pleasure itself, but it is the means of union among mankind, joining them in the same feelings, and necessary for the life and progress toward the good of the individual and of humanity.
  21. 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.
  22. He did not, and could not, understand the meaning of words apart from their context. Every word and action of his was the manifestation of an activity unknown to him, which was his life.
  23. A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
  24. Why does man have a reason if he can only be influenced by violence?
  25. Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I’m alive, I must live and be happy.
  26. A person who has spoiled his stomach will criticize his meal saying that the food is bad; the same thing happens with people who are not satisfied with their lives
  27. Both salvation and punishment for man lie in the fact that if he lives wrongly he can befog himself so as not to see the misery of his position.
  28. Three days afterward the little princess was buried, and Prince Andrey went to the steps of the tomb to take his last farewell to her. Even in the coffin, the face was the same, though the eyes were closed. “Ah, what have you done to me?” it still seemed to say.
  29. I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.
  30. Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre
  31. When a person inflates his own importance, he does not see his own sins; and his sin gets bigger right along with him.
  32. You, worldly-minded people, are most unfortunate! You are surrounded with sorrows and troubles overhead and underfoot and to the right and to the left, and you are enigmas even to yourselves.
  33. Patriotism is meant, not only spontaneous, instinctive love for one’s own nation, and preference for it above all other nations, but also the belief that such love and preference are good and useful.
  34. He felt like a man who, after straining his eyes to peer into the remote distance, finds what he was seeking at his very feet. All his life he had been looking over the heads of those around him, while he had only to look before him without straining his eyes.
  35. But our idea is that the wolves should be fed and the sheep kept safe.
  36. In life, in true life, there can be nothing better than what is. Wanting something different than what is, is blasphemy.
  37. Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.
  38. Why am I going?” he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. “You know that I am going in order to be where you are,” said he. “I cannot do otherwise.” “Not a word, not a movement of yours will I ever forget, nor can I…
  39. Amid this life based on coercion, one and the same thought constantly emerged among different nations, namely, that in every individual a spiritual element is manifested that gives life to all that exists, and that this spiritual element strives to unite with everything of a like nature to itself, and attains this aim through love.
  40. Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.

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