- All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Anna Karenina (1875–7) pt. 1, ch. 1 (tr. A. and L. Maude)
- A desire for desires—boredom.
Anna Karenina (1873–6) pt. 5, ch. 8 (tr. L. and A. Maude)
- When you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.
Anna Karenina (1878) pt. 6, ch. 18
- There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone about him.
Anna Karenina (1875–7) pt. 7, ch. 13 (tr. R. Edmonds)
- It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.
‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ (1889)
- The strongest of all warriors are these two—time and patience.
War and Peace (1865–9) bk. 10, ch. 16
- Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyse it by encumbering it with remedies.
War and Peace
(1865–9) bk. 10, ch. 29 (tr. A. and L. Maude); see Le Corbusier
- Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.
War and Peace (1865) bk. 15, ch. 1
- Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
What is Art? (1898) ch. 19
- 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.
What Then Must We Do? (1886) ch. 16 (tr. A. Maude)
- All newspaper and journalistic activity is an intellectual brothel from which there is no retreat.
letter to Prince V. P. Meshchersky, 22 August 1871