50 Anna Karenina Quotes from one of the Greatest Works of Literature

These Anna Karenina quotes will give you a taste of why the work has remained popular since the late 1800s.

Anna Karenina is a novel that was written in 1878 by Leo Tolstoy.

Many writers view it as one of the best pieces of literature ever written.

The story was told in a series of installments, and in its entirety covers the story of more than a dozen characters throughout approximately 900 pages.

The topics and themes in the book are typical of what you find in life: family, relationships, faith, and betrayal.

The book has been adapted into different forms including television and film.

Enjoy these Anna Karenina quotes!

Don’t forget to also check out these Leo Tolstoy quotes about love, happiness and life.

If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation. 

If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina quotes about family and marriage

1. “With friends, one is well; but at home, one is better.” Leo Tolstoy

2. “The only happy marriages I know are arranged ones.” Leo Tolstoy

3. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy

4. “The French fashion — of the parents arranging their children’s future — was not accepted; it was condemned.” Leo Tolstoy

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5. “She saw them, helped them, got more and more interested in them, and now the whole family is on her hands.” ― Leo Tolstoy

6. “In order to carry through any undertaking in family life, there must necessarily be either complete division between the husband and wife, or loving agreement.” Leo Tolstoy

7. “His ideas of marriage were, consequently, quite unlike those of the great majority of his acquaintances, for whom getting married was one of the numerous facts of social life.” Konstantin

Best Anna Karenina quotes about happiness and contentment

8. “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” Leo Tolstoy

9. “Whatever our fate is or maybe, we have made it and do not complain of it.” Vronksy

10. “It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.” Leo Tolstoy

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11. “But that’s the whole aim of civilization: to make everything a source of enjoyment.” Leo Tolstoy

12. “Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.” – Leo Tolstoy

13. “And you know, there’s less charm in life when you think about death–but it’s more peaceful.” Leo Tolstoy

14. “I’m like a starving man who has been given food. Maybe he’s cold, and his clothes are torn, and he’s ashamed, but he’s not unhappy.” Leo Tolstoy

15. “There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way.” Leo Tolstoy

16. “They’ve got no idea what happiness is, they don’t know that without this love there is no happiness or unhappiness for us–there is no life.” Leo Tolstoy

17. “If goodness has causes, it is not goodness; if it has effects, a reward, it is not goodness either. So goodness is outside the chain of cause and effect.” Leo Tolstoy

18. “But I’m glad you’ll see me as I am. Above all, I wouldn’t want people to think that I want to prove anything. I don’t want to prove anything, I just want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself. I have that right, haven’t I?” Leo Tolstoy

Famous Anna Karenina quotes about love and respect

19. “Love those you hate you.” Leo Tolstoy

20. “It’s hard to love a woman and do anything.” Leo Tolstoy

21. “He was afraid of defiling the love which filled his soul.” Leo Tolstoy

22. “Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?” ― Leo Tolstoy

23. “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.” Leo Tolstoy

24. “But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.” Leo Tolstoy

25. “Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.” Leo Tolstoy

26. “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” Leo Tolstoy

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27. “I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” Leo Tolstoy

28. “I’ve always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.” Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina quotes about honesty and beauty

29. “Teach French and unteach sincerity.” Leo Tolstoy

30. “Anything is better than lies and deceit!” Leo Tolstoy

31. “Be bad, but at least don’t be a liar, a deceiver!” Leo Tolstoy

32. “The pleasure lies not in discovering truth, but in searching for it.” Leo Tolstoy

33. “What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.” Leo Tolstoy

34. “All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” ― Leo Tolstoy

35. “But every acquisition that is disproportionate to the labor spent on it is dishonest.” Leo Tolstoy

36. “Everything was made bright by her. She was the smile that shed light all around her.” Leo Tolstoy

37. “All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.” Leo Tolstoy

38. “We are all created to be miserable, and that we all know it, and all invent means of deceiving each other. And when one sees the truth, what is one to do?” Leo Tolstoy

39. “And not only the pride of intellect, but the stupidity of intellect. And, above all, the dishonesty, yes, the dishonesty of intellect. Yes, indeed, the dishonesty and trickery of intellect.” Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina quotes about faith, strength, and wisdom

40. “Enough or not…it will have to do.” – Leo Tolstoy

41. “Everything intelligent is so boring.” Leo Tolstoy

42. “The Kingdom of God is Within You.” ― Leo Tolstoy

43. “To educate the peasantry, three things are needed: schools, schools, and schools.” Leo Tolstoy

44. “I often think that men don’t understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it.” Leo Tolstoy

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45. “In all human sorrow nothing gives comfort but love and faith, and that in the sight of Christ’s compassion for us no sorrow is trifling.” Leo Tolstoy

46. “Friends we shall never be, you know that yourself. Whether we shall be the happiest or the wretchedest of people–that’s in your hands.” Leo Tolstoy

47. “Sometimes she did not know what she feared, what she desired: whether she feared or desired what had been or what would be, and precisely what she desired, she did not know.” Leo Tolstoy

48. “Anna spoke not only naturally and intelligently, but intelligently and casually, without attaching any value to her own thoughts, yet giving great value to the thoughts of the one she was talking to.” Leo Tolstoy

49. “There was no answer, except the general answer life gives to all the most complex and insoluble questions. That answer is: one must live for the needs of the day, in other words, become oblivious.” Leo Tolstoy

50. “He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realization of their desires.” Leo Tolstoy

What did you learn from these Anna Karenina quotes?

There are many different reasons why Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is remembered and admired by writers.

For starters, in a review by James Meek, he says, “Tolstoy doesn’t believe in ‘show, don’t tell’.

He likes to show and tell.”

When writers and readers dig into the novel, it appears that there were reasons behind everything from the facts that he included and the details he left out.

The story connects on a human level with many while talking about the same struggles that people have faced and will continue to face during life.

He keeps readers involved in the story where they want to continue turning the page, all 900 of them.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Anna Karenina quotes and lines?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

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