About This Author

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy on 23 May 1908 at Yasnaya Polyana, four months before his 80th birthday.[1]
Tolstoy on 23 May 1908 at Yasnaya Polyana, four months before his 80th birthday.

Native name

Лев Николаевич Толстой

Born

Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy9 September 1828 Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Governorate, Russian Empire

Died

20 November 1910 Astapovo, Ryazan Governorate, Russian Empire

Resting place

Yasnaya Polyana

Occupation

Novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist

Language

Russian

Nationality

Russian

Period

1847–1910

Literary movement

Realism

Notable works

War and Peace Anna Karenina The Death of Ivan Ilyich The Kingdom of God Is Within You Resurrection

Spouse

Sophia Behrs ( m.   1862 )

Children

14

Signature

Leo Tolstoy's voice
recorded 1908

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy , usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations for Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and his miss of the prize is a major Nobel prize controversy.

Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina , often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth , and Sevastopol Sketches , based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. Tolstoy's fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich , Family Happiness , and Hadji Murad . He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

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Discover Leo Tolstoy Quotes and Sayings

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

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

alone history war
It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. - Leo Tolstoy

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

Leo Tolstoy

amazing beauty
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

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

art food good men work
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. - Leo Tolstoy

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.

Leo Tolstoy

art
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. - Leo Tolstoy

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

Leo Tolstoy

change
True life is lived when tiny changes occur. - Leo Tolstoy

True life is lived when tiny changes occur.

Leo Tolstoy

change
Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six. - Leo Tolstoy

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.

Leo Tolstoy

death
All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do. - Leo Tolstoy

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.

Leo Tolstoy

death
Faith is the sense of life, that sense by virtue of which man does not destroy himself, but continues to live on. It is the force whereby we live. - Leo Tolstoy

Faith is the sense of life, that sense by virtue of which man does not destroy himself, but continues to live on. It is the force whereby we live.

Leo Tolstoy

faith
All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy

family
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

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

food life
In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you. - Leo Tolstoy

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

Leo Tolstoy

god work
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

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

god men
Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us. - Leo Tolstoy

Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.

Leo Tolstoy

government men
If you want to be happy, be. - Leo Tolstoy

If you want to be happy, be.

Leo Tolstoy

happiness
One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken. - Leo Tolstoy

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.

Leo Tolstoy

happiness nature