Famous Quotations from War and Peace

“All we can know is that we know nothing. And that is the height of human wisdom.”

“Everything, everything I understand, I understand only because I love.”

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”

“Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.”

“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

“Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy.”

“It's all God's will: you can die in your sleep, and God can spare you in battle.”

“Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it.”

“You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.”

“The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there is dejection and darkness...”

“It's not given to people to judge what's right or wrong. People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.”

“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”

“I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself.”

“In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning.”

“Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.”

“Kings are the slaves of history.”

“One must be cunning and wicked in this world.”

“When one's head is gone one doesn't weep over one's hair!”

“A battle is won by him who is firmly resolved to win it.”

“How often we sin, how much we deceive, and all for what?... All will end in death, all!”

“Smiling with pleasure, they went through their memories, not sad, old people's memories, but poetic, youthful ones, those impressions from the very distant past where dream merges with reality, and they laughed softly, rejoicing at something.”

“Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. But to him who does not fear it, everything belongs. If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself. ”

“Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid.”

“How can one be well...when one suffers morally?”

“A man's every action is inevitably conditioned by what surrounds him and by his own body.”

“We love people not so much for the good they've done us, as for the good we've done them.”

“Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost; but it’s only here that new and the good begins.”

“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.”

Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times

The highly readable companion to the novel that makes it more accessible and enjoyable to all readers.