39 Iconic War And Peace Quotes From The Leo Tolstoy Classic

Anusuya Mukherjee
Dec 12, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Jan 27, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
 Leo Tolstoy Illustration from the book "History of Moscow"

The iconic novel 'War And Peace', written by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in the year 1869 is considered to be the finest literary work of art by him.

Even though it is a difficult read due to it being a classic in the world of English literature, it is proof of Tolstoy's mastery in story-telling. By narrating the events in five families, it records the impact of the French invasion of Russia and also the effects the Napoleonic era had on the Tsarist society.

With the first line of the novel being "Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes" there are many other thought-provoking quotes all throughout the novel which makes it whole. They also pertain to the central theme of the novel which is spirituality and familial joy.

Here is a list of some of the most iconic quotes from the novel. If you like our content, you may check out other articles like Leo Tolstoy quotes and crime and punishment quotes.

Important Quotes From 'War And Peace'

Are you looking for a good quotation about 'War And Peace' from Tolstoy's most celebrated novel of all time? Refer to this list carrying the best and important quotes from it.

1. "Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist—I really believe he is Antichrist—I will have nothing more to do with you..."

- Book one, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

2. "Well, what makes you go to war?’ asked Pierre. “What makes me? I don’t know. I have to."

-'War And Peace'.

3. "Pierre, who from the moment Prince Andrew entered the room had watched him with glad, affectionate eyes, now came up and took his arm."

-Book one, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

4. "This black-eyed, wide-mouthed girl, not pretty but full of life...ran to hide her flushed face in the lace of her mother’s mantilla—not paying the least attention to her severe remark—and began to laugh."

-Book one, chapter five, 'War And Peace'.

5. "When everything was ready, the stranger opened his eyes, moved to the table, filled a tumbler with tea for himself and one for the beardless old man to whom he passed it."

-Book five, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

6. "She laughed, and in fragmentary sentences tried to explain about a doll which she produced from the folds of her frock."

-Book one, chapter 11, 'War And Peace'.

7. "Pierre began to feel a sense of uneasiness, and the need, even the inevitability, of entering into conversation with this stranger."

-Book five, Chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

8. "The proverbs, of which his talk was full, were...those folk sayings which taken without a context seem so insignificant, but when used appositely suddenly acquire a significance of profound wisdom."

-Book 12, chapter 13, 'War And Peace'.

9. "If everyone made war only according to his own convictions, there would be no war."

-'War And Peace'.

10. "There’s nothing I would wish for, if only I were there. ... In me alone and in this sun there is so much happiness, but here...groans, suffering fear, and this obscurity, this hurry . . . Again they’re shouting something, and again everybody’s run back somewhere, and I’m running with them."

-'War And Peace'.

11. "When he related anything it was generally some old and evidently precious memory of his “Christian” life, as he called his peasant existence."

-Book 12, chapter 13, 'War And Peace'.

12. " Before he looked round Prince Andrew frowned again, expressing his annoyance with whoever was touching his arm, but when he saw Pierre’s beaming face he gave him an unexpectedly kind and pleasant smile."

-Book one, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

13. "For Moscow society, Pierre was the most dear, kind, intelligent, merry and magnanimous of eccentrics, absentminded and warm-hearted, a Russian squire of the old stamp. His purse was always empty, because it was open to everyone."

-Book eight, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

14. "All Moscow society, from old women to children, received Pierre like a long-awaited guest, whose place was always kept ready and vacant."

-'War And Peace'.

15. "Man lives consciously for himself, but serves as an unconscious instrument for the achievement of historical, universally human goals."

-Book nine, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

16. "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 so than in what they consider right and wrong."

-'War And Peace'.

17. "We’re not willing, let them ruin us! We don’t take your grain, we’re not in agreement!"

-Book 10, chapter 11, 'War And Peace'.

18. "What Kutuzov said came not from clever considerations, but from the feeling that was in the soul of the commander in chief, just as it was in the soul of every Russian man."

-'War And Peace'.

20. "An action once committed is irrevocable, and its effect, coinciding in time with millions of actions of the people, acquires historical significance."

-'War And Peace'.

'War And Peace' Book Quotes

Here is a list of Leo Tolstoy 'War and Peace' quotes that are simply exemplary.

21. "The majority of the people of that time paid not attention to the general course of things, but were guided only by the personal interests of the day. And those people were the most useful figures of that time."

-'War And Peace'.

22. "The strongest of all warriors are these two; Time and Patience."

-'War And Peace'.

23. "Loving with human love, one may pass from love to hatred; but divine love cannot change. Nothing, not even death, can shatter it. It is the very nature of the soul."

-Book 11, chapter 32, 'War And Peace'.

24. "In captivity, in the shed, Pierre had learned, not with his mind, but with his whole being, his life, that man is created for happiness, that happiness is within him, in the satisfying of natural human needs, and that all unhappiness comes not from lack, but from superfluity."

-Book 14, chapter 12, 'War And Peace'.

25. "God is the same everywhere."

-Book eight, chapter 12, 'War And Peace'.

26. "Everything I know, I know because of love."

-'War And Peace'.

27. "If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war."

-'War And Peace'.

28. "Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy."

-Book 15, chapter one, 'War And Peace'.

29. "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly."

-Book four, chapter 11, 'War And Peace'.

30. "Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait."

-Book 10, chapter 16, 'War And Peace'.

31. "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…"

-Book six, chapter 22, 'War And Peace'.

32. "Life is everything. Life is God. Everything shifts and moves, and this movement is God. And while there is life, there is delight in the self-awareness of the divinity. To love life is to love God. The hardest and most blissful thing is to love this life in one’s suffering, in the guiltlessness of suffering."

-Book 14, chapter 15, 'War And Peace'.

33. "Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women."

-Book one, chapter four, 'War And Peace'.

34. "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."

-Book six, chapter 19, 'War And Peace'.

35. "The only thing that we know is that we know nothing – and that is the highest flight of human wisdom."

-'War And Peace'.

36. "I knew that feeling of love which is the essence of the soul, for which no object is needed. And I know that blissful feeling now too.

To love one’s neighbors; to love one’s enemies. To love everything – to Love God in all His manifestations. Someone dear to one can be loved with human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.

And that was why I felt such joy when I felt that I loved that man. What happened to him? Is he alive?"

-'War And Peace'.


"At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man’s power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of event."

-Book 10, chapter 17, 'War And Peace'.

38. "Yes, love, …but not the love that loves for something, to gain something, or because of something, but that love that I felt for the first time, when dying, I saw my enemy and yet loved him."

-Book 11, chapter 32, 'War And Peace'.

39. "Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source."

-Book 12, chapter 16, 'War And Peace'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'War And Peace' quotes then why not take a look at our ['Pride and Prejudice' quotes] Kurt Vonnegut quotes.

Second image credit: urbanbuzz / Shutterstock.com

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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