Talk:Leo Tolstoy

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Focus on Happy or Unhappy[edit]

Much of the focus of people in regards to the Anna Karenina quote tends to lean toward the unhappy. I believe Tolstoy was trying to search out universal truths, or ideas that we could agree upon. If the reader takes into account both the quote from the beginning of the book and Levin's revelations at the end, I believe that Tolstoy was saying that true happiness is alike for all peope, derived from the same place, and universally recognized; whereas unhappiness takes on an infinite number of manifestations of loneliness, mistrust and despair.

The Death of Ivan Illych[edit]

I'd like to see quotations added from The Death of Ivan Illych! Great story. Matt2h 06:37, 28 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Now given a separate page.--Lmstearn (talk) 12:32, 16 August 2018 (UTC)[reply]

What is Religion, of What does its Essence Consist? (1902)[edit]

I am aware how this addition is purely "Tolstoy bashes Nietzsche." However, this is not the intention. The only reason for this two specific quotes is duo the fact I´ve transcribed this before for the Nietzsche´s page. But don´t worry, I will transcribe a couple of excelent non-nietzsche-related passages so the "The guy who entered this hates Nietzsche" feeling washes away.-Amargos February 5, 2010 at 21:09:18 (UTC)


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Leo Tolstoy. --Antiquary 19:37, 2 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]

-I´ve stumbled in one of this unsourced quotes a fews weeks ago 'the Nietzsche quote'. I´m moving it to Tolstoy main page.--Amargos February 5, 2010 at 21:09:18 (UTC)

-Have sourced, moved and provided the original text for 'Truth like gold'. Nargoon 05:26, 27 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

- I've identified 'we know nothing' in War & Peace, 'life is meaningless' in A Confession. -- 17 March 2011

  • The essence of all slavery consists in taking the produce of another's labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.
    • This is what I have found that may be the source of the above paraphrasing? ( "So it was in ancient times, in the Middle Ages, and so it occurs now. In the ancient world, where the subjugation of one people by another was frequent, personal slavery was the most widespread method of subjugation, and the centre of gravity in this compulsion, owing to the non-recognition of the equality of men. In the Middle Ages, feudalism—land-ownership and the servitude connected with it—partly takes the place of personal slavery, and the centre of compulsion is transferred from persons to land. In modern times, since the discovery of America, the development of commerce, and the influx of gold (which is accepted as a universal medium of exchange), the money tribute has become, with the increase of state power, the chief instrument for enslaving men, and upon this all economic relations are now based."
  • A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.
  • And all people live, not by reason of any care they have for themselves, but by the love for them that is in other people.
  • History is nothing other than a collection of fables and useless trifles messed up with a mass of unnecessary dates and proper names....Why should any one have to know that the second marriage of Ivan the Terrible to the daughter of Temryuk took place on August 21, 1562, or that the fourth to Ann Alekseyevna Koltovski happened in 1572? Yet they demand that I learn all this by heart, and if I do not know it, they give me a ‘one.’
  • History would be a wonderful thing — if it were only true.
    • Variant: History would be an excellent thing if only it were true.
  • If he be really and seriously seeking to live a good life, the first thing from which he will abstain will always be the use of animal food, because ... its use is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to the moral feeling — killing
  • If I were told that what I shall write will be read in twenty years by the children of today and that they will weep and smile over it and will fall in love with life, I would devote all my life and all my strengths to it.
  • If so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.
  • If we would only testify to the truth as we see it, it would turn out that there are hundreds, thousands, even millions of other people just as we are, who see the truth as we do... and are only waiting, again as we are, for someone to proclaim it. The Kingdom of God is within you.
  • In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
  • In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
  • It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable — he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated.
  • Joy can be real only if people look on their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.
  • Laws are rules, made by people who govern by means of organized violence, for non-compliance with which the non-complier is subjected to blows, to loss of liberty, or even to being murdered.
  • Life consists in penetrating the unknown, and fashioning our actions in accord with the new knowledge thus acquired.
  • Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal — that there is no human relationship between master and slave.
  • Man lives consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
  • Only those live who do good.
  • Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by encumbering it with remedies.
  • The poet takes the best things out of his life and puts them into his work. Hence his work is beautiful and his life bad.
  • 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.
  • The Kingdom of God is within you... and all beings.
  • The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.
  • The only thing that we know is that we know nothing — and that is the highest flight of human wisdom.
  • The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served by others as little as possible, and to serve others as much as possible.
  • There is only one time that is important — NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.
  • To get rid of an enemy one must love him.
  • Which is worse? the wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not.
  • Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.
    • Refusing to reconcile with the Russian Orthodox Church on his death bed.
  • Music is the shorthand of emotion.
  • To seek, always to seek... (Tolstoy's final words).

The Kreutzer Sonata[edit]

  • If one has no vanity in this life of ours, there is no sufficient reason for living.

- This is a loose translation of part of the first sentence of Chapter 23 of The Kreutzer Sonata "... сли не быть тщеславным в обычной нашей жизни, то ведь нечем жить" [1]. The English version is generally quoted as a Tolstoy epigram completely out of context; it doesn't represent Tolstoy's views, but those of the fictional narrator. Gordonofcartoon 15:05, 11 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Tolstoy on our excuses for not speaking the truth[edit]

“One man [indeed one woman] does not assert the truth which he knows, because he feels himself bound to the people with whom he is engaged; another, because the truth might deprive him of the profitable position by which he maintains his family; a third, because he desires to attain reputation and authority, and then use them in the service of mankind; a fourth, because he does not wish to destroy old sacred traditions; a fifth, because he has no desire to offend people; a sixth, because the expression of the truth would arouse persecution, and disturb the excellent social activity to which he has devoted himself.” (Tolstoy)

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
This has now been sourced to Patriotism and Christianity (1896) which has been provided a section on the page. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 13:42, 7 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Source for quote[edit]

Does anybody know the source of this attributed quote:

  • Tolstoy urged Indians to adopt what he called:
"The Law of Love," and not to give up their ancient religious culture for the materialism of the West."
    • Singhal, Damodar P., India and world civilization, Rupa and Co. Calcutta 1993 p. 252

-- ~ #SheSaid 13:55, 14 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]