Famous Quotes & Sayings

William Faulkner Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by William Faulkner.

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William Faulkner Quotes 304044

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1320598

When we saw her again her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows - sort of tragic and serene. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1261797

In Europe, being an artist is a form of behavior. In America, it's an excuse for a form of behavior. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 411585

Then he came back through the Square late that Saturday afternoon (there had been a ball game on the High School field) and he heard that Lucas had killed Vinson Gowrie out at Fraser's store; — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 758371

Caddy smelled like trees. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1433103

Women are like that they don't acquire knowledge of people we are for that they are just born with a practical fertility of suspicion that makes a crop every so often and usually right they have an affinity for evil for supplying whatever the evil lacks in itself for drawing it about them instinctively as you do bed-clothing in slumber fertilizing the mind for it until the evil has served its purpose whether it ever existed or no. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1547415

This is a free country. Folks have a right to send me letters, and I have a right not to read them. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2223528

I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2038048

He lived out there, eight miles from any neighbor, in a masculine solitude in what might be called the half-acre gunroom of a baronial splendor. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1741657

A writer is trying to create believable people in credible moving situations in the most moving way he can. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1652475

vomiting the crying — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 463455

I don't think anybody can teach anybody anything. I think that you learn it, but the young writer that is as I say demon-driven and wants to learn and has got to write, he don't know why, he will learn from almost any source that he finds. He will learn from older people who are not writers, he will learn from writers, but he learns it
you can't teach it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1785991

Success is feminine and like a woman, if you cringe before her, she will override you — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 354070

It seems hard that a man in his need could be so flouted by a road. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 516854

They will endure. They are better than we are. Stronger than we are. Their vices are vices aped from white men or that white men and bondage have taught them: improvidence and intemperance and evasion-not laziness: evasion: of what white men had set them to, not for their aggrandizement or even comfort but his own. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 985194

I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1750670

My, my. A body does get around. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2255905

Men have been pacifists for every reason under the sun except to avoid danger and fighting. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 327297

They all talked at once, their voices insistent and contradictory and impatient, making of unreality a possibility, then a probability, then an incontrovertible fact, as people will when their desires become words. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1089200

Nowadays he drove the car into town to fetch his grandfather from habit alone, and though he still considered forty five miles an hour merely cruising speed, he no longer took cold and fiendish pleasure in turning curves on two wheels or in detaching mules from wagons by striking the whiffle-trees with his bumper in passing. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1126576

Because a fellow can see ever now and then that children have more sense than him. But he dont like to admit it to them until they have beards. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 589552

It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1638093

I am older at twenty than a lot of people who have died. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 544259

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 496360

Delicate equilibrium of periodical filth between two moons balanced. Moons he said full and yellow as harvest moons her hips thighs. Outside outside of them always but. Yellow. Feet soles with walking like. Then know that some man that all those mysterious and imperious concealed. With all that inside of them shapes an outward suavity waiting for a touch to. Liquid putrefaction like drowned things floating like pale rubber flabbily filled getting the odor of honeysuckle all mixed up. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1620603

The young girl who slept waking in some suspension so completely physical as to resemble the state before birth and as far removed from reality's other extreme as Ellen was from hers — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 387720

Only a fool tries to outsmart smart people, and anyone that tries to fool fools is himself already one. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1559138

My daily life is an acknowledgment and expiation of my sin. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 234950

I notice how it takes a lazy man, a man that hates moving, to get set on moving once he does get started off, the same as when he was set on staying still, like it aint the moving he hates so much as the starting and the stopping. And like he would be kind of proud of whatever come up to make the moving or the setting still look hard. He set there on the wagon hunched up, blinking, listening to us tell about how quick the bridge went and how high the water was, and I be durn if he didn't act like he was proud of it, like he had made the river rise himself. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1927118

You men,' she says. 'You durn men. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 589889

They say love dies between two people. That's wrong. It doesn't die. It just leaves you, goes away, if you aren't good enough, worthy enough. It doesn't die; you're the the one that dies. It's like the ocean: if you're no good, if you begin to make a bad smell in it, it just spews you up somewhere to die. You die anyway, but I had rather drown in the ocean than be urped up onto a strip of dead beach and be dried away by the sun into a little foul smear with no name to it, just this was for an epitaph — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1767983

And he was not old enough to talk and say nothing at the same time. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2222847

Pouring out liquor is like burning books. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1494338

It's because I'm alone.. If I could just feel it, it would be different, because I would not be alone. But if I were not alone, everybody would know it. And he could do so much for me, and then I would not be alone. Then I could be all right alone. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 79954

Good art can come out of thieves, bootleggers, or horse swipes. People really are afraid to find out just how much hardship and poverty they can stand. They are afraid to find out how tough they are. Nothing can destroy the good writer. The only thing that can alter the good writer is death. Good ones don't have time to bother with success or getting rich. Success is feminine and like a woman; if you cringe before her, she will override you. So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 118791

Which was no abode of the dead because there was no death, not Lion and not Sam: not held fast in earth but free in earth and not in earth but of earth, myriad yet undiffused of every myriad part, leaf and twig and particle, air and sun and rain and dew and night, acorn oak and leaf and acorn again, dark and dawn and dark and dawn again in their immutable progression and, being myriad, one ... — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 130320

And I reckon them that are good must suffer for it the same as them that are bad. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 142816

True poetry is not of earth, 'T is more of Heaven by its birth. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 150601

I never promise a woman anything nor let her know what I'm going to give her. That's the only way to manage them. Always keep them guessing. If you cant think of any other way to surprise them, give them a bust in the jaw. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 155517

When you opened the door a bell tinkled, but just once, high and clear and small in the neat obscurity above the door, as though it were gauged and tempered to make that single clear small sound so as not to wear the bell out nor to require the expenditure of too much silence in restoring it when the door opened upon the recent warm scent of baking; a little dirty child with eyes like a toy bear's and two patent-leather pigtails. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 163833

Listen to the voices. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 173458

Only fools imply compliments. The wise man comes right out with it, point-blank. Imply criticism
unless the criticized isn't within earshot. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 176616

He just stood and looked at his dying mother, his heart too full for words. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 194037

That's what they mean by the love that passeth understanding: that pride, that furious desire to hide that abject nakedness which we bring here with us, carry with us into operating rooms, carry stubbornly and furiously with us into the earth again. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 249562

now i can get them teeth — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 286784

You tell 'em, big boy; treat 'em rough. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 375343

Lifeless and shockingly alien in that place where dissolution itself was a seething turmoil of ejaculation tumescence conception and birth, and death did not even exit. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 428925

Man the sum of what have you. A problem in impure properties carried tediously to an unvarying nil: stalemate of dust and desire. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 452317

But my mother is a fish. Vernon seen it. He was there.
"Jewel's mother is a horse," Darl said.
"Then mine can be a fish, can't it, Darl? I said.
Jewel is my brother.
"Then mine will have to be a horse, too," I said.
"Why? Darl said. "If pa is your pa, why does your ma have to be a horse just because Jewel's is?"
"Why does it? I said. "Why does it, Darl?"
Darl is my brother.
"Then what is your ma, Darl?" I said.
"I haven't got ere one," Darl said. "Because If I had one, it is was. And if it is was, it can't be is. Can't it?"
"No," I said.
"Then I am not," Darl said. "Am I?"
"No," I said.
I am. Darl is my brother.
"But you are, Darl," I said.
"I know it," Darl said. "That's why I am not is. Are is too many for one woman to foal. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 534308

This does not matter. This is not anything yet. It all depends on what you do with it, afterward. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 578021

Life wasn't made to be easy on folks: they wouldn't ever have any reason to be good and die. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 579522

Man the sum of his climatic experiences — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 595094

He remembered his uncle saying once how little vocabulary man really needed to get comfortably and even efficiently through his life, how not only in the individual but within his whole type and race and kind a few simple cliches served his few simple passions and needs and lusts. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 614123

She died without regaining consciousness and without pain they say, and whatever they mean by that since it has always seemed to me that the only painless death must be that which takes the intelligence by violent surprise and from the rear so to speak, since if death be anything at all beyond a brief and peculiar emotional state of the bereaved it must be a brief and likewise peculiar state of the subject as well. And if aught can be more painful to any intelligence above that of a child or an idiot than a slow and gradual confronting with that which over a long period of bewilderment and dread it has been taught to regard as an irrevocable and unplumable finality, I do not know it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 640395

Curiosity is a mistress whose slaves decline no sacrifice. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 680294

In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were. I don't know what I am. I don't know if I am or not. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 733762

An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 752869

I will never lie again. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 775398

Writing is one-third imagination, one-third experience, and one third observation. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 809433

Sometimes I ain't sho who's got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he ain't. Sometimes I think it ain't none of us pure crazy and ain't none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it ain't so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. [ ... ] That's how I reckon a man is crazy. That's how he can't see eye to eye with other folks. And I reckon they ain't nothing else to do with him but what the most folks says is right. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 826448

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity; it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 872186

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 875741

Thank God you can flee, can escape from that massy five-foot-thick maggot-cheesy solidarity which overlays the earth, in which men and women in couples are ranked like ninepins. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 887870

She accepted that--not reconciled: accepted--as though there is a breathing-point in outrage when you can accept it almost with gratitude since you can say to yourself, 'thank God, this is all; at least I now know all of it-- — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1019411

God created man and He created the world for him to live in and I reckon He created the kind of world He would have wanted to live in if He had been a man
the ground to walk on, the big woods, the trees and the water, and the game to live in it. And maybe He didn't put the desire to hunt and kill game in man but I reckon He knew it was going to be there, that man was going to teach it to himself, since he wasn't quite God himself yet. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1133075

He turned into the road at that slow and ponderous gallop, the two of them, man and beast, leaning a little stiffly forward as though in some juggernautish simulation of terrific speed though the actual speed itself was absent, as if in that cold and implacable and undeviating conviction of both omnipotence and clairvoyance of which they both partook known destination and speed were not necessary. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1153804

There is no such thing as a bad whisky. Some whiskies just happen to be better than others. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1165485

I kept thinking that. I don't know why it is I can't seem to learn that a woman'll do anything. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1176636

The best fiction is far more true than any journalism. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1195333

The air brightened, the running shadow patches were now the obverse, and it seemed to him that the fact that the day was clearing was another cunning stroke on the part of the foe, the fresh battle toward which he was carrying ancient wounds. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1204909

Love in the young requires as little of hope as of desire to feed upon. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1254375

That's what they mean by the womb of time: the agony and the despair of spreading bones, the hard girdle in which lie the outraged entrails of events. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1270201

I believe that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of man's puny, inexhaustible, voice still talking! ... not simply because man alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because man has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion, sacrifice and endurance. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1303183

Quentin did not answer, staring at the window; then he could not tell if it was the actual window or the window's pale rectangle upon his eyelids, though after a moment it began to emerge. It began to take shape in its same curious, light, gravity-defying attitude
the once-folded sheet out of the wistaria Mississippi summer, the cigar smell, the random blowing of the fireflies. "The South," Shreve said. "The South. Jesus. No wonder you folks all outlive yourselves by years and years and years." It was becoming quite distinct. He would be able to decipher the words soon, in a moment; even almost now, now, now.
"I am older at twenty than a lot of people who have died," Quentin said. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1321675

You're not being tried by common sense," Horace said. "You're being tried by a jury. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1336782

The whiskey died away in time and was renewed and died again, but the street ran on. From that night the thousand streets ran as one street, with imperceptible corners and changes of scene ... — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1346194

Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Shirts. I thought all the time they were khaki, army issue khaki, until I saw they were of heavy Chinese silk or finest flannel because they made his face so brown his eyes so blue. Dalton Ames. It just missed gentility. Theatrical fixture. Just papier-mache, then touch. Oh. Asbestos. Not quite bronze. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1350829

And George Farr had the town, the earth, the world to himself and his sorrow. Music came faint as a troubling rumor beneath the spring night, sweetened by distance: a longing knowing no ease. (Oh God, oh God!)
At last George Farr gave up trying to see her. He had 'phoned vainly and time after time, at last the telephone became the end in place of the means: he had forgotten why he wanted to reach her. Finally he told himself that he hated her, that he would go away; finally he was going to as much pains to avoid her as he had been to see her. So he slunk about the streets like a criminal, avoiding her, feeling his his very heart stop when he did occasionally see her unmistakable body from a distance. And at night he lay sleepless and writhing to think of her, then to rise and don a few garments and walk past her darkened house, gazing in slow misery at the room in which he knew she lay, soft and warm, in intimate slumber, then to return to home and bed to dream of her brokenly. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1417113

From that night the thousand streets ran as one street, with imperceptible corners and changes of scene, broken by intervals of begged and stolen rides, on trains and trucks, and on country wagons with he at twenty and twentyfive and thirty sitting on the seat with his still, hard face and the clothes (even when soiled and worn) of a city man and the driver of the wagon not knowing who or what the passenger was and not daring to ask. The street ran into Oklahoma and Missouri and as far south again as Mexico and then back north to Chicago and Detroit and then back south again and at last to Mississippi. It was fifteen years long. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1441708

not even as three women, but merely as three creatures who still possessed the need to eat but took no pleasure in it, the need to sleep but from no joy in weariness or regeneration — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1468671

It's not four days ago I find a bastard squatting here, asking me if I read books. Like he would jump me with a book or something. Take me for a ride with the telephone directory. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1532659

It has always seemed to me that the only painless death must be that which takes the intelligence by violent surprise and from the rear so to speak since if death be anything at all beyond a brief and peculiar emotional state of the bereaved it must be a brief and likewise peculiar state of the subject as well and if aught can be more painful to any intelligence above that of a child or an idiot than a slow and gradual confronting with that which over a long period of bewilderment and dread it has been taught to regard as an irrevocable and unplumbable finality, I do not know it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1625381

Read, read, read. Read everything
trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it.
Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1643695

Liquor teaches you to confuse the means with the end — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1702030

Freedom comes with the decision: it does not wait for the act. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1718344

I learned little save that most of the deeds, good and bad both, incurring opprobrium or plaudits or reward either, within the scope of man's abilities, had already been performed and were to be learned about only from books. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1719664

Then it wasn't and she was, and now it is and she wasn't. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1784850

Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That's how he finds that he can bear anything. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1811575

If a story is in you, it has got to come out. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1815151

Facts and truth really don't have much to do with each other. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1860914

She is like all the rest of them. Whether they are seventeen or fortyseven, when they finally come to surrender completely, it's going to be in words. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1879827

The poets are wrong of course [ ... ] But then poets are almost always wrong about facts. That's because they are not really interested in facts: only in truth: which is why the truth they speak is so true that even those who hate poets by simple and natural instinct are exalted and terrified by it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1891622

You intend to kiss me and yet you are going to all this damn trouble about it. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1967339

Yet even then the music has still a quality stern and implacable, deliberate and without passion so much as immolation, pleading, asking, for not love, not life, forbidding it to others, demanding in sonorous tones death as though death were the boon, like all Protestant music. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 1982768

He never denied it. He never did anything. He never acted like either a nigger or a white man. That was it. That was what made the folks so mad. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2000289

He turned the pages in steady progression, though now and then he would seem to linger upon one page, one line, perhaps one word. He would not look up then. He would not move, apparently arrested and held immobile by a single word which had perhaps not yet impacted, his whole being suspended by the single trivial combination of letters in quiet and sunny space, so that hanging motionless and without physical weight he seemed to watch the slow flowing of time beneath him, thinking All I wanted was peace thinking, — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2006774

-that unsleeping care which must have known that it could permit itself but one mistake; that alertness for measuring and weighing event against eventuality, circumstance against human nature, his own fallible judgement and mortal clay against not only human but natural forces, choosing and discarding, compromising with his dream and his ambition like you must with the horse which you take across country, over timber, which you control only through your ability to keep the animal from realizing that actually you cannot, that actually it is the stronger. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2057125

I decline to accept the end of man. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2072996

The Swiss are not a people so much as a neat, clean, quite solvent business. — William Faulkner

William Faulkner Quotes 2101986

Everything in Los Angeles is too large, too loud and usually banal in concept ... The plastic asshole of the world. — William Faulkner