Treasure Island

Leo Tolstoy


Quotations

  • ''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 (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. repr. In Tolstoy on Art, ed. Aylmer Maude (1924). What Is Art? Ch. 10 (1898).
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  • ''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 back.''
    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).
  • ''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 (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Prince Andrew, in War and Peace, bk. 12, ch. 4 (1868-1869).
  • ''The best generals I have known were ... stupid or absent-minded men.... Not only does a good army commander not need any special qualities, on the contrary he needs the absence of the highest and best human attributes—love, poetry, tenderness, and philosophic inquiring doubt. He should be limited, firmly convinced that what he is doing is very important (otherwise he will not have sufficient patience), and only then will he be a brave leader. God forbid that he should be humane, should love, or pity, or think of what is just and unjust.''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Prince Andrew, in War and Peace, bk. 9, ch. 11 (1868-1869).
  • ''But the peasants—how do the peasants die?''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Quoted in W. H. Auden, A Certain World, "Words, Last," (1970). Attributed last words.
  • ''Though it is possible to utter words only with the intention to fulfill the will of God, it is very difficult not to think about the impression which they will produce on men and not to form them accordingly. But deeds you can do quite unknown to men, only for God. And such deeds are the greatest joy that a man can experience.''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. letter, Feb. 23, 1903. Tolstoy's Letters, vol. 2 (1978).
  • ''If I had any doubts at all about the justice of my dislike for Shakespeare, that doubt vanished completely. What a crude, immoral, vulgar, and senseless work Hamlet is. The whole thing is based on pagan vengeance; the only aim is to gather together as many effects as possible; there is no rhyme or reason about it.''
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. letter, Jan. 1896. Tolstoy's Letters, vol. 2, ed. and trans. by R.F. Christian (1978). Tolstoy continued, "The author was so concerned with the effects that he didn't even bother to give the main person any character, and everybody decided that it was a brilliant portrayal of a characterless man. I never understood so clearly the utter helplessness of the crowd in making judgements, and how they can deceive themselves."

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