Leo Tolstoy Quotes (295 Quotes)


    As often happens between men who have chosen different pursuits, each, while in argument justifying the other's activity, despised it in the depth of his heart.

    He had never thought the question over clearly, but vaguely imagined that his wife had long suspected him of being unfaithful to her and was looking the other way. It even seemed to him that she, a worn-out, aged, no longer beautiful woman, not remarkable for anything, simple, merely a kind mother of a family, ought in all fairness to be indulgent. It turned out to be quite the opposite.

    I often think that men don't understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it.

    My life now, my whole life, regardless of all that may happen to me, every minute of it, is not only not meaningless, as it was before, but has the unquestionable meaning of the good which it is in my power to put into it!



    These loaves, pigeons, and two little boys seemed unearthly. It all happened at the same time: a little boy ran over to a pigeon, glancing over at Levin with a smile; the pigeon flapped its wings and fluttered, gleaming in the sunshine among the snowdust quivering in the air, while the smell of freshly baked bread was wafted out of a little window as the loaves were put out. All this together was so extraordinarily wonderful that Levin burst out laughing and crying for joy.

    As the sun and each atom of ether is a shphere complete in itself, yet at the same time only a part of a whole too vast for man to comprehend, so each individual bears within himself his own purpose, yet bears it ot serve a general purpose unfathomable to man.

    For a few seconds they looked silently into each other's eyes, and the distant and impossible suddenly became near, possible, and inevitable.

    I think that when you remember, remember, remember everything like that, you could go on until you remember what was there before you were in the world.

    Millions of men, renouncing their human feelings and reason, had to go from west to east to slay their fellows, just as some centuries previously hordes of men had come from the east to the west slaying their fellows.

    The higher a man stands on the social ladder, the greater the number of people he is connected with, the more power he has over other people, the more obvious is the predestination and inevitability of his every action.

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

    At that instant he knew that all his doubts, even the impossibility of believing with his reason, of which he was aware in himself, did not in the least hinder his turning to God. All of that now floated out of his soul like dust. To whom was he to turn if not to Him in whose hands he felt himself, his soul, and his love?


    If there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.


    Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn.

    They've got no idea what happiness is, they don't know that without this love there is no happiness or unhappiness for us--there is no life.

    At moments of departure and a change of life, people capable of reflecting on their actions usually get into a serious state of mind. At these moments they usually take stock of the past and make plans for the future.

    For if we allow that human life is always guided by reason, we destroy the premise that life is possible at all.


    Napoleon, the man of genius, did this! But to say that he destroyed his army because he wished to, or because he was very stupid, would be as unjust as to say that he had brought his troops to Moscow because he wished to and because he was very clever and a genius

    The latter part of her stay in Voronezh had been the happiest period in Princess Marya's life. Her love for Rostov was not then a source of torment or agitation to her. That love had by then filled her whole soul and become an inseparable part of herself, and she no longer struggled against it. Of late Princess Marya was convinced- though she never clearly in so many words admitted it to herself- that she loved and was beloved.

    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.


    He looked at her as a man looks at a faded flower he has gathered, with difficulty recognizing in it the beauty for which he picked and ruined it. And in spite of this he felt that then, when his love was stronger, he could, if he had greatly wished it, have torn that love out of his heart; but now when as at that moment it seemed to him he felt no love for her, he knew that what bound him to her could not be broken.



    Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family-- the monkey.

    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.

    At that moment it meant nothing to him who might be standing over him, or what was said of him; he was only glad that people were standing near him and only wished that they would help him and bring him back to life, which seemed to him so beautiful now that he had today learned to understand it so differently.

    He had learned that, as there is no situation in the world in which a man can be happy and perfectly free, so there is no situation in which he can be perfectly unhappy and unfree.


    Natasha ran into the house and went on tiptoe through the half-open door into the sitting room, where there was a smell of vinegar and Hoffman's drops.

    The man who ten years earlier and one year later was considered a bandit and outlaw is sent a two-day sail from France, to an island given into his possession, with his guards and several million, which are paid to him for some reason.


    Between Countess Nordston and Levin there had been established those relations, not infrequent in society, in which two persons, while ostensibly remaining on friendly terms, are contemptuous of each other to such a degree that they cannot even treat each other seriously and cannot even insult each one another.

    He looked at her as a man might look at a faded flower he had plucked, in which it was difficult for him to trace the beauty that had made him pick and so destroy it

    I'll tell you truly: I value my thought and work terribly, but in essence - think about it - this whole world of ours is just a bit of mildew that grew over a tiny planet. And we think we can have something great - thoughts, deeds! They're all grains of sand




    Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.

    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.

    In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning.

    Nikolushka and his upbringing, Andre, and religion were Princess Marya's comforts and joys; but, besides that, since every human being needs his personal hope, Princess Marya had in the deepest recesses of her soul a hidden dream and hope, which provided the main comfort of her life.

    The march of humanity, springing as it does from an infinite multitude of individual wills, is continuous.


    But after all, while she was in the house, I kept myself in hand. And the worst of it all is that she's already… it seems as if ill-luck would have it so! Oh, oh! But what, what is to be done?

    He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realization of their desires.


    More Leo Tolstoy Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Life - Man - Love - World - Happiness - People - Mind - God - Christianity - Death & Dying - Truth - Time - Good & Evil - War & Peace - Reasoning - Joy & Excitement - History - Work & Career - Beauty - View All Leo Tolstoy Quotations

    More Leo Tolstoy Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Anna Karenina
    - War and Peace

    Related Authors


    Paulo Coelho - Franz Kafka - Charles Dickens - Tom Clancy - Robertson Davies - Robert Ludlum - Louisa May Alcott - Honore de Balzac - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Emily Bronte


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