Quotes About Tolstoy

Quotes tagged as "tolstoy" (showing 1-30 of 55)
Leo Tolstoy
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
“I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

P.G. Wodehouse
“Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.”
P.G. Wodehouse, The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology

Woody Allen
“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”
Woody Allen

Leo Tolstoy
“He stepped down, avoiding any long look at her as one avoids long looks at the sun, but seeing her as one sees the sun, without looking.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Gretchen Rubin
“Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.”
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Leo Tolstoy
“And not only the pride of intellect, but the stupidity of intellect. And, above all, the dishonesty, yes, the dishonesty of intellect. Yes, indeed, the dishonesty and trickery of intellect.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy
“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.”
Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
“if they hadn’t both been pretending, but had had what is called a heart-to-heart talk, that is, simply told each other just what they were thinking and feeling, then they would just have looked into each other’s eyes, and Constantine would only have said: ‘You’re dying, dying, dying!’ – while Nicholas would simply have replied: ‘I know I’m dying, but I’m afraid, afraid, afraid!’ That’s all they would have said if they’d been talking straight from the heart. But it was impossible to live that way, so Levin tried to do what he’d been trying to do all his life without being able to, what a great many people could do so well, as he observed, and without which life was impossible: he tried to say something different from what he thought, and he always felt it came out false, that his brother caught him out and was irritated by it.”
Leo Tolstoy

Yevgeny Zamyatin
“The world is kept alive only by heretics: the heretic Christ, the heretic Copernicus, the heretic Tolstoy. Our symbol of faith is heresy. (“Tomorrow”)”
Yevgeny Zamyatin

J.G. Ballard
“In the post-Warhol era a single gesture such as uncrossing one's legs will have more significance than all the pages in War and Peace.”
J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition

Sherman Alexie
“Gordie, the white boy genius, gave me this book by a Russian dude named Tolstoy, who wrote, 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Well, I hate to argue with a Russian genius, but Tolstoy didn't know Indians, and he didn't know that all Indian families are unhappy for the same exact reasons: the frikkin' booze.”
Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Leo Tolstoy
“The Lord had given them the day and the Lord had given them the strength. And the day and the strength had been dedicated to labor, and the labor was its reward. Who was the labor for? What would be its fruits? These were irrelevant and idle questions.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Anna Karenina is sheer perfection as a work of art. No European work of fiction of our present day comes anywhere near it. Furthermore, the idea underlying it shows that it is ours, ours, something that belongs to us alone and that is our own property, our own national 'new word'or, at any rate, the beginning of it.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Louis Menand
“There is history the way Tolstoy imagined it, as a great, slow-moving weather system in which even tsars and generals are just leaves before the storm. And there is history the way Hollywood imagines it, as a single story line in which the right move by the tsar or the wrong move by the general changes everything. Most of us, deep down, are probably Hollywood people. We like to invent “what if” scenarios--what if x had never happened, what if y had happened instead?--because we like to believe that individual decisions make a difference: that, if not for x, or if only there had been y, history might have plunged forever down a completely different path. Since we are agents, we have an interest in the efficacy of agency.”
Louis Menand

Leo Tolstoy
“Several times I asked myself, "Can it be that I have overlooked something, that there is something which I have failed to understand? Is it not possible that this state of despair is common to everyone?" And I searched for an answer to my questions in every area of knowledge acquired by man. For a long time I carried on my painstaking search; I did not search casually, out of mere curiosity, but painfully, persistently, day and night, like a dying man seeking salvation. I found nothing.”
Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
“In my considered opinion, salary is payment for goods delivered and it must conform to the law of supply and demand. If, therefore, the fixed salary is a violation of this law - as, for instance, when I see two engineers leaving college together and both equally well trained and efficient, and one getting forty thousand while the other only earns two thousand , or when lawyers and hussars, possessing no special qualifications, are appointed directors of banks with huge salaries - I can only conclude that their salaries are not fixed according to the law of supply and demand but simply by personal influence. And this is an abuse important in itself and having a deleterious effect on government service.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“An artist must know the reality he is depicting in its minutest detail. In my opinion we have only one shining example of that - Count Leo Tolstoy.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“I was nothing more than a thug with Tolstoy in my pocket.”
David Adams Richards, Mercy Among the Children

“Art is bad when ‘you see the intent and get put off.’ (Goethe) In Tolstoy one is unaware of the intent, and sees only the thing itself.
from the book, On Retranslating A Russian Classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy”
Joel Carmichael

George Orwell
“Vice is punished, but virtue is not rewarded”
George Orwell, Inside the Whale and Other Essays

Adelheid Manefeldt
“The endless ocean was his sole companion , and on some deeply sentimental level, it seemed sufficient. Almost apt. He aligned himself with Thoreau and Tolstoy, he felt like their peers. The kinship with nature devoted humans to a mythical state, a heightened persona beyond the reach of mere mortals. At least that was what he told himself on the lonely nights when insomnia played on his fears and the howling wind pierced through his soul.”
Adelheid Manefeldt, Consequence

Milan Kundera
“Every novel says to the reader: “Things are not as simple as you think.” That is the novel’s eternal truth, but it grows steadily harder to hear amid the din of easy, quick answers that come faster than the question and block it off. In the spirit of our time, it’s either Anna or Karenin who is right, and the ancient wisdom of Cervantes, telling us about the difficulty of knowing and the elusiveness of truth, seems cumbersome and useless.”
Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel

Abhijit Naskar
“If you want to consume the cream of Christ's philosophy, then don't read the Bible, read Tolstoy.”
Abhijit Naskar

Abhijit Naskar
“Only a handful of individuals in human history can be truly hailed as Christians, such as Tolstoy, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Rumi, Martin Luther King Jr. and a few others.”
Abhijit Naskar, Neurons of Jesus: Mind of A Teacher, Spouse & Thinker

“Требования, которые он предъявлял к началу произведения, Толстой высказал однажды в связи с работой над романом о декабристах: для начала должна быть найдена такая обстановка, чтобы из нее, «как из фонтана», разбрызгивалось действие «в разные места, где будут играть роль разные лица». Таким «фонтаном» оказался вечер в придворном салоне, в котором, по позднейшему определению Толстого, как нигде, «высказывался так очевидно и твердо градус политического термометра, на котором стояло настроение придворного легитимистского петербургского общества» [25].”
Эвелина Зайденшнур, «Война и мир» Л. Н. Толстого: создание великой книги

“In Russia, the person who put Sevastopol on the literary map was Leo Tolstoy, a veteran of the siege. His fictionalized memoir The Sebastopol Sketches made him a national celebrity. Already with the first installment of the work published, Tsar Alexander II saw the propaganda value of the piece and ordered it translated into French for dissemination abroad. That made the young author very happy. Compared with Tolstoy’s later novels, The Sebastopol Sketches hasn’t aged well, possibly because this is not a heartfelt book. As the twenty-six-year-old Tolstoy’s Sevastopol diaries reveal, not heartache but ambition drove him at the time. Making a name as an author was just an alternative to two other grand plans—founding a new religion and creating a mathematical model for winning in cards (his losses during the siege were massive even for a rich person).”
Constantine Pleshakov, The Crimean Nexus: Putin’s War and the Clash of Civilizations

George Orwell
“Ultimately it is the Christian attitude which is self-interested and hedonistic, since the aim is always to get away from the painful struggle of earthly life and find eternal peace in some kind of Heaven or Nirvana. The humanist attitude is that the struggle must continue and that death is the price of life.”
George Orwell, Inside the Whale and Other Essays

Daniel Tammet
“[Tolstoy] denounced [many historians'] lamentable tendency to simplify. The experts stumble onto a battlefield, into a parliament or public square, and demand, "Where is he? Where is he?" "Where is who?" "The hero, of course! The leader, the creator, the great man!" And having found him, they promptly ignore all his peers and troops and advisors. They close their eyes and abstract their Napoleon from the mud and the smoke and the masses on either side, and marvel at how such a figure could possibly have prevailed in so many battles and commanded the destiny of an entire continent. "There was an eye to see in this man," wrote Thomas Carlyle about Napoleon in 1840, "a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such."
But Tolstoy saw differently. "Kings are the slaves of history," he declared. "The unconscious swarmlike life of mankind uses every moment of a king's life as an instrument for its purposes." Kings and commanders and presidents did not interest Tolstoy. History, his history, looks elsewhere: it is the study of infinitely incremental, imperceptible change from one state of being (peace) to another (war).
The experts claimed that the decisions of exceptional men could explain all of history's great events. For the novelist, this belief was evidence of their failure to grasp the reality of an incremental change brought about by the multitude's infinitely small actions.”
Daniel Tammet, Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math

“Through the decade of the 1880s and into the early 1890s, Tolstoy and Fedorov met many times, and Tolstoy frequently refers to him in his letters and notebooks. For Tolstoy these were years of spiritual unrest. Never a complacent person unaware of his own self-development, Tolstoy in the late 1870S and early 1880s was passing through a stage of especially intense spiritual torment and particularly ruthless self-examination. His earlier religious faith, never terribly strong, had collapsed utterly, and he was seeking a new faith to live by. That he could not live a life strictly consistent with his deeply felt (and widely publicized) principles had always troubled him, and now tormented him. He had turned against the ideal of family life that he had so memorably depicted in War and Peace, but he still lived as-and at times very much enjoyed being-a family man. Theoretically he had turned against his own social class and against all art that did not illustrate some simple moral truth-and yet his biographers give us a charming picture of Tolstoy at age fifty and his old aesthetic and ideological enemy Turgenev, age sixty, sitting at opposite ends of a child's teeter-totter, seesawing up and down as children from the neighborhood laugh and applaud. Even during his famous "peasant" phase, in which he allowed himself to be portrayed by the artist Repin à la moujik behind a plow, we learn from his wife's diary that under his peasant smock he always wore silk underwear.”
George M. Young, The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Federov and His Followers

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