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53 of William Faulkner’s Quotes You Need To Read

William Faulkner was born in Mississippi, United States on September 25, 1897. His original name was Falkner. He changed it to Faulkner when he enlisted in the British troops.

In 1918, he was rejected by the U.S. Army for being too small. Far from being discouraged by this rejection, Faulkner joined the British Royal Flying Corps and trained as a pilot. During the War, he suffered a leg injury following a plane accident.

Shortly after leaving the air force, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi. But he did not stay long, as in the following years he wandered between New York, working in a book store and Mississippi, where he worked in the post office. He was fired in the latter position due to the fact that he was unserious and was reading too much.

His literary career took off with his visit and stay in new orleans and his touring of Europe. His novel Soldiers’ Pay, Mosquitoes, The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying deal with the problem of every day life, the coming back of war heroes, the poverty and existence of life itself in the South.

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For someone who never graduated from University and who never finished school, writing such kind of works which went on to be considered classic is a rare achievement. William Faulkner not only developed the now well known Yoknapatawpha County but he transformed the American novels by adopting a completely new style and techniques while strengthening the realism in American Literature. Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, and also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 and posthumously in 1966 for A Fable and The Reivers, respectively.

He passed away on July 6, 1962 at the age of 64.

William Faulkner’s Quotes

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

Pointless… like giving caviar to an elephant.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

Man will not merely endure; he will prevail.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

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

William Faulkner

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

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

We have to start teaching ourselves not to be afraid.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

A gentleman can live through anything.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

I decline to accept the end of man.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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.

William Faulkner

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