William Faulkner Quotes

Most popular William Faulkner Quotes

I can't think why mothers love them.
— William Faulkner

babies

Civilization begins with distillation.

alcohol

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

the past

The writer's only responsibility is to his art.
— William Faulkner
The past is never, never dead. It's not even past.
— William Faulkner
When my horse is running good, I don't stop to give him sugar.

writing

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

freedom

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

writing

No man can cause more grief than the one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors.
— William Faulkner

ancestors

Landlord of a bordello! The company's good and the mornings are quiet, which is the best time to write.
— William Faulkner

work

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

writing

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
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.

perfection failure

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.

equality race

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

equality

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

interesting time

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
— 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.

quarrels

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.

aspiration

Well, with one martini ah feel bigger, wiser, taller, and with two it goes to the superlative, and ah feel biggest, wisest, tallest, and with three there ain't no holdin' me.

martini

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.

art artists

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.

writing advice

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

mankind

An artist is a creature driven by demons.  He doesn't know why they chose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why.  He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.

artists

The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. 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.

writers

Edward Bok, the magazine publisher, was fond of flowers, and one spring planted thousands of daffodils in his front yard. "You shouldn't waste your money planting any beyond the fence," warned one neighbor. "People will steal them as fast as they bloom. " The next morning Bok nailed a sign on the fence which read, THESE FLOWERS ARE UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC.
Not one was picked. Unless you're ashamed of yourself now and then, you're not honest.
— William Faulkner

conscience