How Much Land Does a Man Need?

How Much Land Does a Man Need? is an 1886 short story by Leo Tolstoy (September 9 1828 – November 20 1910) about a man who, in his lust for land, forfeits everything.

Late in life, James Joyce wrote to his daughter that it is “the greatest story that the literature of the world knows”; Ludwig Wittgenstein was another well-known admirer.


An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine clothes her children wore, what good things they ate and drank, and how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments.

Continue reading