Top 35 Tolstoy Quotes

Words matter. These are the best Tolstoy Quotes from famous people such as Jessica Pare, Elif Batuman, Martha Grimes, Mike Nichols, Twyla Tharp, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.

I went through a whole phase when I was younger of bein

I went through a whole phase when I was younger of being obsessed with Tolstoy and Kafka and Camus, all those really, beautiful, dark depressing books.
Jessica Pare
To think of Tolstoy eating a sandwich is intrinsically kind of funny.
Elif Batuman
There are people who read Tolstoy or Dostoevski who do not insist that their endings be happy or pleasant or, at least, not be depressing. But if you’re writing mysteries – oh, no, you can’t have an ending like that. It must be tidy.
Martha Grimes
A great thing is happening on cable TV. You see characters change in stories over years, like in Tolstoy. That’s a whole, thrilling new form that I really enjoy. They are Tolstoy-an in their endless character development and narrative changes… a show like ‘Breaking Bad’ is astonishing.
Mike Nichols
I think Tolstoy had an unbelievably complicated relationship with women.
Twyla Tharp
I am a writer. I am rooted in Tolstoy, I am rooted in Homer, I am rooted in Cervantes.
Peter Handke
I’m never going to be Tolstoy.
Tucker Max
One of the greatest things about writing as a profession is that the words of Tolstoy, Chesterton and Dostoyevsky have lived for a hundred years and are just as powerful today. Their words have changed me just as much as the people I actually met.
Philip Yancey
I’ve read probably 25 or 30 books by Balzac, all of Tolstoy – the novels and letters – and all of Dickens. I learned my craft from these guys.
Twyla Tharp
The novel at its nineteenth-century pinnacle was a Judaized novel: George Eliot and Dickens and Tolstoy were all touched by the Jewish covenant: they wrote of conduct and of the consequences of conduct: they were concerned with a society of will and commandment.
Cynthia Ozick
A great writer is a great writer… Tolstoy was not a woman, but ‘Anna Karenina’ is still a pretty good book.
Phil Klay
In ‘A Confession,’ Tolstoy found meaning that he could hold on to, and he lived for another 30 years.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
I’m most impressed by the Russian writers, so I love reading the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Another author who has informed the way I think is the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal.
Andrea Bocelli
I like reading… French, Russian classics – Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Flaubert. I also like Hemingway, Virginia Woolf.
Andrea Bocelli
Every drama requires a cast. The cast may be so huge, as in Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina,’ that the author or editor provides a list of characters to keep them straight. Or it may be an intimate cast of two.
Nancy Kress
There are two men in Tolstoy. He is a mystic and he is also a realist. He is addicted to the practice of a pietism that for all its sincerity is nothing if not vague and sentimental; and he is the most acute and dispassionate of observers, the most profound and earnest student of character and emotion.
William Ernest Henley
Tolstoy may not be showing that much of Russia at that time even. It’s hard to tell. You tend to associate the quality of the period with what’s lasted – what’s still good. And that quality becomes the whole period.
Donald Judd
Would you ask Picasso to explain ‘Guernica?’ Would you ask Nabokov to explain ‘Lolita?’ Would you ask Tolstoy about ‘War and Peace?’ No, you wouldn’t dare.
Michael Cimino
Tolstoy didn’t know about steampunk or cyborgs, but he did know about the nightmarishness of steam power, unruly machines, and the creepy half-human status of the Russian peasant classes. In ‘Anna Karenina,’ nineteenth-century life itself is a relentless, relentlessly modern machine, flattening those who oppose it.
Elif Batuman
It may be that Tolstoy and Virginia Woolf were sitting around fretting about their Amazon reviews or their pre-pub whatever, but I kind of doubt it. I don’t think that’s how the work probably got made.
Garth Risk Hallberg
It’s a different thing to write a love story now than in the time of Jane Austen, Eliot, or Tolstoy. One of the problems is that once divorce is possible, once break-ups are possible, it can all become a little less momentous.
Mona Simpson
Everyone writes in Tolstoy’s shadow, whether one feels oneself to be Tolstoyan or not.
A. N. Wilson
Everybody is a regionalist. Tolstoy is a regionalist – one is where one lives, where one writes.
Paul Horgan
Affairs have been going on since Tolstoy.
Jean Kerr
Take Jonathan Franzen’s work: it’s just old wine in new bottles. They say he’s the Tolstoy of the digital age, but there can only be a Tolstoy of the Tolstoyan age.
David Shields
I’ve never felt powerful enough to write a true political novel, or deeply knowledgeable enough to draw a character like, say, Tolstoy’s Prince Kutuzov.
Mona Simpson
I love ‘Anna Karenina.’ It’s in the top five books on my list. Tolstoy is unsurpassed in combining the grand with the trivial, that is, the small details which make up life.
Susan Minot
Tolstoy may be right about happy and unhappy families, but in ballet, it works the opposite way: All good ballets are different from each other and all bad ones are alike, at least in one crucial respect – they’re all empty.
Robert Gottlieb
When you started looking at the life of Tolstoy, there was so much passion and anger and drama surrounding him.
Elif Batuman
Really important books to me are the classics. I try very hard to read them well – you know, especially once I got serious about writing. So, reading Tolstoy several times – ‘War and Peace,’ ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ – all those were really important to me.
Karl Marlantes
Historical fiction was not – and is not – meant to supplant literature from the period it describes. As a veteran of the Crimea, Tolstoy wrote ‘War and Peace’ to match his own internal sense of the truth of the Napoleonic wars, to dramatize what he felt literature from that period had failed to describe.
Alexander Chee
The idea of a book that can make a change to your life,

The idea of a book that can make a change to your life, that can affect your perspective, is a beautiful and great ambition: one that Seneca, Nietzsche and Tolstoy would have sympathised with.
Alain de Botton
I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.
Ernest Hemingway
I survived many a youth hostel bunk room reading Tolstoy by flashlight.
Maria Semple
This is not Tolstoy. I don’t want to know what critics and professors think of what I’m writing. It might hurt my feelings.
Lisa Kleypas