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Inspirational quotes by Leo Tolstoy on religion, marriage, love, family and life.

100 Inspirational Quotes By Leo Tolstoy, The Author Of War And Peace

Quick Facts

Born On

Died On

Born In
Yasnaya Polyana

Died At Age

No list of world’s greatest novelists can be complete without the mention of Russian author, Leo Tolstoy. Generations have come and gone, each only augmenting the sheer brilliance of Tolstoy as a master of realistic fiction. His novels, ‘War and Peace’, ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’ even today are ranked amongst the best in the world and are counted amongst the finest novels ever written. His works share a vision of human experience rooted in an appreciation of everyday life and prosaic virtues. Tolstoy’s ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body is something not many novelists can claim to have even today in the 21st century. Literary accomplishments apart, Tolstoy attracted attention due to his new faith, which mixed pacifism with Christian anarchism and advocated living a morally and physically ascetic lifestyle. Among those influenced by Tolstoy’s social beliefs was Mahatma Gandhi, who started the non-violent movement in India and brought the country its independence from British Raj. Tolstoy’s spiritual belief, religious sentiments and literary brilliance can also be seen in his quotes that cover a vast variety of subjects and give a new perspective to life.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

- Leo Tolstoy

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.

- The Kreutzer Sonata, Leo Tolstoy

I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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

We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

If you want to be happy, be.

- Leo Tolstoy

Spring is the time of plans and projects.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.

- Leo Tolstoy

Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you'd like them to be.

- Leo Tolstoy

Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Be bad, but at least don't be a liar, a deceiver!

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

- Leo Tolstoy

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}

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Anything is better than lies and deceit!

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.

- A Confession, Leo Tolstoy

All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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

- Anna Karenina, 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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Leo Tolstoy

If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Boredom: the desire for desires.

- Leo Tolstoy

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.

- Leo Tolstoy

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.

- Leo Tolstoy

It's much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

The best stories don't come from "good vs. bad" but "good vs. good.

- Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

If you love me as you say you do,' she whispered, 'make it so that I am at peace.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

True life is lived when tiny changes occur.

- Leo Tolstoy

It's hard to love a woman and do anything.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

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

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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...

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.

- Leo Tolstoy

Love those you hate you.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.

- Leo Tolstoy

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

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

He was afraid of defiling the love which filled his soul.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

To get rid of an enemy one must love him.

- Leo Tolstoy

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

Not one word, not one gesture of yours shall I, could I, ever forget...

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Whatever our fate is or may be, we have made it and do not complain of it." - Vronksy {Anna Karenina}

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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

We are asleep until we fall in Love!

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.

- Leo Tolstoy

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.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

She had no need to ask why he had come. She knew as certainly as if he had told her that he was here to be where she was.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Everything I know, I know because of love.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Which is worse? the wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not.

- Leo Tolstoy

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

- Война и мир, Leo Tolstoy

Music is the shorthand of emotion

- Leo Tolstoy

Instead of going to Paris to attend lectures, go to the public library, and you won't come out for twenty years, if you really wish to learn.

- Leo Tolstoy

Everything intelligent is so boring.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

How can one be well...when one suffers morally?

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

To tell the truth is very difficult, and young people are rarely capable of it.

- Leo Tolstoy

Every heart has its own skeletons.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

It's all God's will: you can die in your sleep, and God can spare you in battle.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

I sit on a man's back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that i am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible....except by getting off his back.

- What Then Must We Do?, Leo Tolstoy

There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

He went down trying not to look long at her, as though she were the sun, but he saw her, as one sees the sun, without looking.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Everything depends on upbringing.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

And you know, there's less charm in life when you think about death--but it's more peaceful.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.

- 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.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

We walked to meet each other up at the time of our love and then we have been irresistibly drifting in different directions, and there's no altering that.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

God is the same everywhere.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.

- Leo Tolstoy

My principal sin is doubt. I doubt everything, and am in doubt most of the time.

- Anna Karenina Notes, Leo Tolstoy

The Kingdom of God is Within You,

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.

- A Confession, Leo Tolstoy

Enough or not...it will have to do

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.

- Leo Tolstoy

I am always with myself, and it is I who am my tormentor.

- Leo Tolstoy

Life did not stop, and one had to live.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Here I am alive, and it's not my fault, so I have to try and get by as best I can without hurting anybody until death takes over.

- Война и мир, Leo Tolstoy

Kings are the slaves of history.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes.

- Leo Tolstoy

Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken. Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders?

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Anna spoke not only naturally and intelligently, but intelligently and casually, without attaching any value to her own thoughts, yet giving great value to the thoughts of the one she was talking to.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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

- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

To educate the peasantry, three things are needed: schools, schools and schools.

- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy