50 Famous Leo Tolstoy Quotes That Will Inspire You to Greatness

When we look at the list of the world’s greatest authors, the Russian author, Leo Tolstoy is iconic. Authors have come and gone, and each is full of praise about the brilliance of Leo Tolstoy- the master of realistic fiction. This author has incredible novels including The Death of Ivan IIyich, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. These novels are rated as the best in the world and some of the most interesting ever written.

Leo Tolstoy’s works demonstrate a vision of human experience that is based on an appreciation of day-to-day life and unimaginative virtues. He is gifted with the ability to detect the slightest changes in consciousness as well as recording the slightest body movement, something that most novelists cannot challenge. Tolstoy drew attention due to his faith that embraced pacifism and Christian anarchism. He advocated living a physically and morally rigorous lifestyle.

Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by Tolstoy’s social commentary and he later initiated a non-violent movement in India that gave the country its independence from British Raj. Tolstoy’s religious sentiments, spiritual beliefs, and literary brilliance have been covered by the following quotes. The quotes will give you a new perspective to life.

Leo Tolstoy Quotes

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.”– Leo Tolstoy

2. “Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.”– Leo Tolstoy

3. “If there existed no external means for dimming their consciences, one-half of the men would at once shoot themselves, because to live contrary to one’s reason is a most intolerable state, and all men of our time are in such a state.”– Leo Tolstoy

4. “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.”– Leo Tolstoy

5. “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.”– Leo Tolstoy

6. “Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”– Leo Tolstoy

7. “All the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class included all the girls in the world except her, and they had all the usual human feelings and were very ordinary girls; while the other class -herself alone- had no weaknesses and was superior to all humanity.”– Leo Tolstoy

8. “It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.”– Leo Tolstoy

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9. “If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed”– Leo Tolstoy

10. “Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.”– Leo Tolstoy

11. “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”– Leo Tolstoy

12. “I always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be. -Dolly”– Leo Tolstoy

13. “Sometimes she did not know what she feared, what she desired: whether she feared or desired what had been or what would be, and precisely what she desired, she did not know.”– Leo Tolstoy

14. “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.”– Leo Tolstoy

15. “It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.”– Leo Tolstoy

16. “War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.”– Leo Tolstoy

17. “To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but that most people can’t eat it.”– Leo Tolstoy

18. “Something magical has happened to me: like a dream when one feels frightened and creepy, and suddenly wakes up to the knowledge that no such terrors exist. I have wakened up.”– Leo Tolstoy

19. “A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.”– Leo Tolstoy

20. “Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself.”– Leo Tolstoy

21. “The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.”– Leo Tolstoy

22. “We must not only cease our present desire for the growth of the state, but we must desire its decrease, its weakening.”– Leo Tolstoy

23. “The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there is dejection and darkness…”– Leo Tolstoy

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24. “If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”– Leo Tolstoy

25. “Every lie is a poison; there are no harmless lies. Only the truth is safe. Only the truth gives me consolation – it is the one unbreakable diamond.”– Leo Tolstoy

26. “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.”– Leo Tolstoy

27. “Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”– Leo Tolstoy

28. “An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.”– Leo Tolstoy

29. “I’m like a starving man who has been given food. Maybe he’s cold, and his clothes are torn, and he’s ashamed, but he’s not unhappy.”– Leo Tolstoy

30. “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”– Leo Tolstoy

31. “Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.”– Leo Tolstoy

32. “Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.” – Anna Karenina {Anna Karenina}”– Leo Tolstoy

33. “Here’s my advice to you: don’t marry until you can tell yourself that you’ve done all you could, and until you’ve stopped loving the women you’ve chosen, until you see her clearly, otherwise you’ll be cruelly and irremediably mistaken. Marry when you’re old and good for nothing…Otherwise all that’s good and lofty in you will be lost.”– Leo Tolstoy

34. “You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom.”– Leo Tolstoy

35. “All that day she had had the feeling that she was playing in the theatre with actors better than herself and that her poor playing spoiled the whole thing.”– Leo Tolstoy

36. “Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.”– Leo Tolstoy

37. “The only thing that we know is that we know nothing and that is the highest flight of human wisdom.”– Leo Tolstoy

38. “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”– Leo Tolstoy

39. “Pay bad people with your goodness; fight their hatred with you kindness. Even if you do not achieve victory over other people, you will conquer yourself.”– Leo Tolstoy

40. “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”– Leo Tolstoy

41. “Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.”– Leo Tolstoy

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42. “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.”– Leo Tolstoy

43. “Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.”– Leo Tolstoy

44. “What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness! A beautiful woman utters absurdities: we listen, and we hear not the absurdities but wise thoughts.”– Leo Tolstoy

45. “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.”– Leo Tolstoy

46. “True science investigates and brings to human perception such truths and such knowledge as the people of a given time and society consider most important. Art transmits these truths from the region of perception to the region of emotion.”– Leo Tolstoy

47. “The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.”– Leo Tolstoy

48. “There will be today, there will be tomorrow, there will be always, and there was yesterday, and there was the day before.”– Leo Tolstoy

49. “Friends we shall never be, you know that yourself. Whether we shall be the happiest or the wretchedest of people–that’s in your hands.”– Leo Tolstoy

50. “I ask one thing: I ask the right to hope and suffer as I do now.” Vronsky”– Leo Tolstoy

Related: Quotes About Perspective

Video: Leo Tolstoy

This is a great intro to Tolstoy’s literature. He was a famous novelist in part because he believed that the novel is a tool for social reform that could enable us to be kinder and more generous to others.

This is an excellent short educational video about Tolstoy’s life and his impact on society.

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In conclusion, Leo Tolstoy was a hero who shared his beliefs on religion and government with people who believed in his course. His novels and ideology have had a positive impact on numerous people.

Today authors and great people appreciate his work due to the good influence his work has brought. Reading the above quotes about Leo Tolstoy will lead you to live a successful life full of greatness.

See also: Immanuel Kant’s Best Quotes

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