50 William Faulkner quotes

William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, screenplays, poetry, essays, and a play.

Quotes

Perhaps they were right in putting love into books… Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.

The best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it’s the perfect milieu for an artist to work in.

The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.

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.

Pointless… like giving caviar to an elephant.

Our tragedy is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it… the basest of all things is to be afraid.

My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.

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

The end of wisdom is to dream high enough to lose the dream in the seeking of it.

Man will not merely endure; he will prevail.

The tools I need for my work are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.

Maybe the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly is having to accept it.

The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.

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.

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

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.

Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.

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

To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.

Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets.

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

We have to start teaching ourselves not to be afraid.

Well, between Scotch and nothin’, I suppose I’d take Scotch. It’s the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find.

The salvation of the world is in man’s suffering.

Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder.

You should approach Joyce’s Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.

To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.

A gentleman can live through anything.

A man’s moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.

A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once.

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

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

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

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

Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency to get the book written.

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

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.

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

It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work.

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.

I decline to accept the end of man.

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

I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.

I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.

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.

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’m inclined to think that a military background wouldn’t hurt anyone.

If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoevski, all of us.

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.

It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: He made the books and he died.

Given a choice between grief and nothing, I’d choose grief.

There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it’s the risk, the gamble. In any event it’s a thing I need.