Top 111 William Faulkner Quotes

The saddest thing about love, Joe, is that not only the love cannot last forever, but even the heartbreak is soon forgotten.


She was bored. She loved, had capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love. Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve it, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.


You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.


I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.


Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.


A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.


The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.


Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.


Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.


The best fiction is far more true than any journalism.


ingenuity was apparently given man in order that he may supply himself in crises with shapes and sounds with which to guard himself from truth.


he looked at her, stripped naked for the instant of verbiage and deceit.


And even a liar can be scared into telling the truth, same as honest man can be tortured into telling a lie.


I am the chosen of the Lord, for who He loveth, so doeth He chastiseth. But I be durn if He dont take some curious ways to show it, seems like.


You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.


You don’t dare think whole even to yourself the entirety of a dear hope or wish let alone a desperate one else you yourself have doomed it.


Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.


I reckon it does take a powerful trust in the Lord to guard a fellow, though sometimes I think that Cora’s a mite over-cautious, like she was trying to crowd the other folks away and get in closer than anybody else.


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


Everyone in the South has no time for reading because they are all too busy writing.


When my horse is running good, I don’t stop to give him sugar.


It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.


I would say that music is the easiest means in which to express, but since words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better.


The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one… If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.


A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you’d think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune


Time, the spaces of light and dark, had long since lost orderliness.


I’m bad and I’m going to hell, and I don’t care. I’d rather be in hell than anywhere where you are.


I’d have wasted a lot of time and trouble before I learned that the best way to take all people, black or white, is to take them for what they think they are, then leave them alone.


War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.


War is an episode, a crisis, a fever the purpose of which is to rid the body of fever. So the purpose of a war is to end the war.


The phenomenon of war is its hermaphroditism: the principles of victory and of defeat inhabit the same body and the necessary opponent, enemy, is merely the bed they self-exhaust each other on.


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


We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.


Government was founded on the working premiss of being primarily an asylum for ineptitude and indigence.


You can’t beat women anyhow and that if you are wise or dislike trouble and uproar you don’t even try to.


Maybe times are never strange to women: it is just one continuous monotonous thing full of the repeated follies of their menfolks.


Menfolks listens to somebody because of what he says. Women don’t. They don’t care what he said. They listens because of what he is.


In Europe, being an artist is a form of behavior; in America, being an artist is an excuse for a form of behavior.


In Europe, being an artist is a form of behavior; in America, it’s an excuse for a form of behavior.


Who owned no property and never desired to since the earth was no man’s but all men’s, as light and air and weather were.


Marriage is long enough to have plenty of room for time behind it.


It’s always the idle habits you acquire which you will regret. Father said that. That Christ was not crucified: he was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels. That had no sister.


Yet the motion of the saw has not faltered, as though it and the arm functioned in a tranquil conviction that rain was an illusion of the mind.


Sometimes i think there must be a sort of pollen of ideas floating in the air, which fertilizes similarly minds here and there which have not had direct contact.


Like a fellow running from or toward a gun ain’t got time to worry whether the word for what he is doing is courage or cowardice.


Sex and death: the front door and the back door of the world.


Though children can accept adults as adults, adults can never accept children as anything but adults too.


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.


My gad,” one of them, warrant officer pilot, captain and M. C. in turn said to me once; “if you can treat a crate that way, why do you want to fly at all?


Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.


Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.


The next time you try to seduce anyone, don’t do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.


People to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.


Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.


Most of life is just a preparation for getting ready to be dead for a very long period of time.


Women do have an affinity for evil, for believing that no woman is to be trusted, but that some men are too innocent to protect themselves.


If all the businesses in town are run like country businesses, You are going to have a country town


Memory believes before knowing remembers.[Light in August]


It is a happy faculty of the mind to slough that which conscience refuses to assimilate.


All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the base of our splendid failure to do the impossible.


I know now that what makes a fool is an inability to take even his own good advice.


When it’s a matter of not-do, I reckon a man can trust himself for advice. But when it comes to a matter of doing, I reckon a fellow had better listen to all the advice he can get.


A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.


A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe.”(on Mark Twain)


I can’t do nothing. Just put it off. And that don’t do no good. I reckon it belong to me. I reckon what I going to get ain’t no more than mine.


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


It’s like there was a fellow in every man that’s done a-past the sanity or the insanity, that watches the sane and the insane doings of that man with the same horror and the same astonishment.


It is the man who all his life has been self-convicted of veracity whose lies find quickest credence.


Some days in late August at home are like this, the air thin and eager like this, with something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar…


What matters is at the end of life, when you’re about to pass into oblivion, that you’ve at least scratched ‘Kilroy was here,’ on the last wall of the universe.


Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest


… a man aint so different from a horse or a mule, come long come short, except a mule or a horse has got a little more sense.


You know that if I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.


How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.


…women will show pride and honor about almost anything except love …


So long as the deceit ran along quiet and monotonous, all of us let ourselves be deceived, abetting it unawares or maybe through cowardice…


And sure enough, even waiting will end…if you can just wait long enough.


Caddy got the box and set it on the floor and opened it. It was full of stars. When I was still, they were still. When I moved, they glinted and sparkled. I hushed.


Stars were golden unicorns neighing unheard through blue meadows.


Wanton stars galloped neighing like unicorns in blue meadows.


I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!


Listen: it’s got to be all honeymoon, always. Either heaven, or hell: no comfortable safe peaceful purgatory between for you and me to wait in until good behavior or forbearance or shame or repentance overtakes us.


It was too late. Maybe yesterday, while I was still a child, but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much, I was a child no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever lost, forever gone from me.


And so sometimes I would think how the devil had conquered God.


But something held him, as the fatalist can always be held: by curiosity, pessimism, by sheer inertia.


I only write when the spirit moves me … and the spirit moves me every day. William Faulkner, Oxford, Mississippi


Amid the pointing and the horror, the clean flame.


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


And when a man that old takes up money-hunting, it’s like when he takes up gambling or whisky or women. He aint going to have time to quit.


It’s not when you realise that nothing can help you – religion, pride, anything – it’s when you realise that you don’t need any aid.


He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”(on Ernest Hemingway


The scattered tea goes with the leaves and every day a sunset dies.


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


Ab figured that the chance of his recognising it would be about the same as a burglar recognising a dollar watch that happened to get caught for a minute on his vest button five years ago


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


Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.


Here I am I am tired I am tired of running of having to carry my life like it was a basket of eggs


Too much happens … Man performs engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That’s how he finds that he can bear anything.


We have to start teaching ourselves not to be afraid.


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.


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.


All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.


Fear is the most damnable damaging thing to human personality in the whole world.


I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice but because he has a soul a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.


Time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people.


The Swiss are not a people so much as a neat clean quite solvent business.


All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.


Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.


When ideas come I write them when they don’t come I don’t.


One of the saddest things is the only thing a man can do for 8 hours a day day after day is work. You can’t eat 8 hours a day nor drink for 8 hours a day nor make love for 8 hours.


The displacement of water is equal to the something of something.



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