Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (known in the Anglosphere as Leo Tolstoy; September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.

His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on ... more »

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  • 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...
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. repr. In Tolstoy on Art, ed. Aylmer Maude (1924). What Is Art? Ch. 10 (1898).
  • ''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 (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Published in Tolstoy on Art, ed. Aylmer Maude (1924). What Is Art? Ch. 10 (1898).
  • I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his ...
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. What Then Must We Do? Ch. 16 (1886).
  • ''All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Anna Karenina (1873-76). Opening words.
  • ''Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Anna Karenina, pt. 3, ch. 9 (1873-1876).
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