Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799—August 18, 1850) was a French author, generally considered to be one of the greatest novelists of all time.

After his birth, Balzac was sent to be raised by a wet-nurse, although his mother had the time and resources to nurse him. This fact along with his father’s distant attitude had a negative emotional impact on young Honore, so he sought refuge in reading everything he could get his hands on, even dictionaries.

Once his studies were completed, Balzac worked in a law office for several years, but soon realized that the profession didn’t suit him. He decided to become a full-time writer, much to his father’s disapproval.

Balzac’s lifework (excluding his theatrical plays and humorous tales), consists of a series of over ninety novels and short stories collected under the title La Comédie Humaine (“The Human Comedy”).

Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in Europe and his contribution to literature is huge. Aside from producing a vast number of novels and short stories, Balzac helped to establish the traditional form of the novel.

Here are 22 Honore de Balzac quotes on life, love, and human weakness.

The more one judges, the less one loves.

It is always assumed by the empty-headed, who chatter about themselves for want of something better, that people who do not discuss their affairs openly must have something to hide.

Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.

When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.

Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation.

Women are always true, even in the midst of their greatest falsities, because they are always influenced by some natural feeling.

Every moment of happiness requires a great amount of ignorance.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.

True love is eternal, infinite and always like itself. It’s always equal and pure. Without violent demonstrations: It is seen with white hairs and is always young at heart.

It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.

Marriage must fight constantly against a monster which devours everything: routine.

Hatred is the vice of narrow souls; they feed it with all their littleness, and make it the pretext of base tyrannies.

How natural it is to destroy what we cannot possess, to deny what we do not understand, and to insult what we envy!

The first thing necessary to win the heart of a woman is opportunity.

Such is life. It is no cleaner than a kitchen; it reeks like a kitchen; and if you mean to cook your dinner, you must expect to soil your hands; the real art is in getting them clean again, and therein lies the whole morality of our epoch.

An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.

Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.

Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.

There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.

It is quite right what they say: the three most beautiful sights in the world are a ship in full sail, a galloping horse, and a woman dancing.

Our heart is a treasury; if you pour out all its wealth at once, you are bankrupt.