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Quotations From LEO TOLSTOY

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  • 1.
    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.

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  • 2.
    Man lives consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
    Leo Tolstoy (1829-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. War and Peace, bk. 9, ch. 1 (1868-1869).
  • 3.
    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 (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. letter, Feb. 23, 1903. Tolstoy's Letters, vol. 2 (1978).

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  • 4.
    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.
  • 5.
    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).

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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    The chief difference between words and deeds is that words are always intended for men for their approbation, but deeds can be done only for God.
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist, philosopher. Letter, February 23, 1903. Tolstoy's Letters, vol. 2 (1978).

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