Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Celebrating Tolstoy's 186th Birthday with a Giveaway of A Calendar of Wisdom

A portrait of Leo Tolstoy in his study by Vasily Meshkov, 1910.

Today marks the 186th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy's birth, September 9th 1828, and I felt it was only right that Tolstoy Therapy celebrates the occasion.

I was overwhelmed by the wonderful comments I received for the blog's two year birthday giveaway (I should compile your comments in a post!) and I thought something similar could work here.

The Tolstoy-related giveaway on offer is a copy of A Calendar of Wisdom, Tolstoy's collection of quotes and 'daily thoughts to nourish the soul', which was compiled over fifteen years towards the later years of his life. It's a superb collection of quotes on all manner of topics, and I know I've still got a lot to learn from it.

I wrote an article for Huffington Post Books about the book yesterday - entitled A Calendar of Wisdom: Tolstoy's Little-Known Collection of Quotes to Nourish the Soul - and remembered how great it truly is. A Calendar of Wisdom is also not as well-known as Tolstoy's other books, meaning there's perhaps less chance of you having it in your libraries!

To enter, simply share your favourite quote - it could be anything, or by anyone - in the comments box below. Whether it's philosophical, literary, or something entirely different, if it means something to you I'd love to hear it. The last giveaway was random (lucky you, Alexandra!), but this time I'll choose my favourite.

Good luck to you all! I'll be choosing a winner on Monday 15th September.

Today, why not read one or two of my top ten posts on Tolstoy?

Have a great day, and I look forward to reading your chosen quote!

Like more of the same? Subscribe to the Tolstoy Therapy Newsletter and receive a round-up of the week's articles every Sunday to enjoy with your coffee. Click here to subscribe or take a look at an example copy here.


Praveen Huded said...

One quote of Leo Tolstoy which is close to me is,
" there is no greatness, where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth."

Jasper Patony said...

Ah, it's great to rediscover you again, Lucy - especially on Tolstoy's birthday. I've missed reading your blog. Blessings to you.

Adrienne said...

This isn't a Tolstoy quote (I've just begun dabbling in his work) but one of my favorites is from good old Dr. Suess "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose." I think that sums up my life philosophy. ;-)

lawrence kurnoff said...

Hello, I would like to just share a piece of my own that I've written.

"Rain will fall just the same as the first time it fell.
Winds will blow, as they should.
Storms will build to a deafening thunder.
Clouds will break,
and beams of sunlight will streak across the air
just to shine on your face."

Arjun Jain said...

"Don’t be afraid of talking nonsense- only don't fail to pay attention to it." - Wittgenstein.

mendel14 said...

Since I love Tolstoy and consider Anna Karenina to be the best novel I've ever read (including War and Peace), I am happy to discover your site, and thrilled to join this contest with two of Leo's quotes on Love from AK:

First, from Levin, describing perfectly the beginnings of love:

“All the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class included all the girls in the world except her, and they had all the usual human feelings and were very ordinary girls; while the other class -herself alone- had no weaknesses and was superior to all humanity.”

And second, from Dolly, on what TRUE love is, and how to make it last:

“I always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be."

John Gainey said...

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." - Winston Churchill

I love this quote, and I believe W.C. is saying: I will do everything within my power to make the world a better place, and so my legacy will be remembered as a good one.

He was so sure of his purpose and destiny that he was able to move forward with confidence that he would be leave a heroic legacy. I love it.

Alexandra said...

Thank you for the shout out Lucy! Hope you're doing well! One of my favorite quotes is from another Russian great, Dostoevsky,
"Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men, I think, have great sadness on earth."

Natalie said...

I consider Tolstoy to be one of the best authors I have read so far. I absolutely loved War and Peace and especially enjoyed Anna Karenina. I am really excited to take part in this contest. I have recently discovered this blog, and will continue to read it in the future!

My favorite quote is from Albert Einstein: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
This for me symbolizes the inevitability of the unknown. We as a human race will never be able to fully understand all that goes on around us. Tolstoy also plays with these existential ideas in his novels, but I believe that this quote displays the message the way that I see it.

Tolstoy is a master philosopher, and we could all be if we allowed ourselves to dwell on these ideas. I use the quote as a way to realize that we all have flaws in our logic- no one really knows everything. How do we even know if our truths are truths?

Jennifer Davis Hughes said...

We are all creatures of habit. Today's world wraps us in the habits of social media, being busy, and technology dependence. Our alone time with technology lulls us into believing we are interacting or self-examining. When, in fact, we may be simply existing. So my new quote to live by is "nothing changes until something changes."

Felicia said...

First of all, I want to thank you for this blog, I'm so glad I found it! A few years ago I read Anna Karenina. I loved the book and was intrigued by Tolstoy's life. I've added more of Tolstoy's works to my TBR list. The blog is wonderfully encouraging in my quest for more Tolstoy knowledge.

There are so many great Tolstoy quotes, here is one of my favorties:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy

Syed Ahmed said...

Have to thanks google on introducing Mr Tolstoy , a beautiful soul, my favorite quote is
" 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. "

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you so much for all of your entries so far! To those of you who haven't suggested a quote just yet, I'll be choosing a winner on Monday!

Lynn said...

Hello, and thank you so much for this generous opportunity. Tolstoy was a beautifully clear thinker and I like to imagine what he would say to the postmodern literary critics of more recent times. I think he might have written something similar to this:

"The New Critics of the 1950s and 1960s told us that we can never finally establish authorial intention in literature, and that we should therefore abandon the search as fruitless and perhaps intrinsically meaningless. Their insight is profound in its origins but banal and disheartening in its conclusions: the false dichotomy admits no degrees. The fact that we can be deceived does not excuse us from looking in the first place, and if we cannot at least approach intention, and human understanding on human terms, communication has no purpose. We grasp another human being's intention imperfectly, of course (in such a world as ours, how could it be otherwise?) but that does not invalidate the search. We must remain committed to it fundamentally, since it is the foundation for all human interaction, all community, and almost everything that makes us grow. We owe to an author, as much as to anyone else we might meet, the courtesy of listening sincerely and openly, whether in conversation over dinner, or reading a book written two thousand years ago. I also believe that honest listening is the only thing that will chip away at the pernicious polarities that have recently infected most of our political and social discourse."
~Bruce McMenomy

My name is Lynn and my email is robinwoodpdx@gmail.com

Camilla P said...

What a nice, funny way to celebrate Tolstoj's birthday! :)

I've many favourite quotes, and they usually change based on my mood - I like to find the one that fits the moment in the best way.

The one I'm going to share, though, it's been close to my heart since I read it. It's a short poem by Hafiz, a 14th century Sufi poet:
All this time
The Sun never says
To the Earth:
“You owe me.”
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the

It just gives me joy and faith in the world.

tolstoytherapy said...

Dear readers, thank you for sharing such wonderful quotes with me! I will be compiling these into a post to help others readers enjoy them as much as I have.

Now, for the winner... after much deliberation, I've chosen Paige's choice:

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”

Well done, Paige, it's an incredible quotation - Tolstoy would be proud! I'll get in touch with you by email tomorrow.

Thank you all, and happy reading!

tolstoytherapy said...

Paige, this has got to be the winning quotation! It's a superb choice, and one I wasn't familiar with before now (I must learn it by heart!

Well done and thank you so much for sharing it. I'll be in touch tomorrow!

Very best wishes,

Paige Pritchard said...

Hurrah! I'm so excited! Thanks for the win and thanks for all your uplifting words at Tolstoy Therapy Lucy!


Michal said...

It's well past the deadline, but a good quote is good all the time:
"Man becomes truly man only by progressing beyond himself." - Populorum progressio, pope Paul VI