William Faulkner quotes

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William Faulkner

Birthdate: 25. September 1897
Date of death: 6. July 1962

William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, and screenplays. He is primarily known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life.

Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel winner. Two of his works, A Fable and his last novel The Reivers , won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying and Light in August . Absalom, Absalom! is often included on similar lists.

Works

The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner
Light in August
Light in August
William Faulkner
The Town
William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom!
William Faulkner
Go Down, Moses
William Faulkner
The Mansion
William Faulkner
If I Forget Thee
William Faulkner
Requiem for a Nun
Requiem for a Nun
William Faulkner
Intruder in the Dust
William Faulkner
The Reivers
The Reivers
William Faulkner
A Fable
A Fable
William Faulkner
Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes
William Faulkner
Soldiers' Pay
Soldiers' Pay
William Faulkner

Quotes William Faulkner

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

—  William Faulkner, book Requiem for a Nun

Act 1, sc. 3; this has sometimes been paraphrased or misquoted as "The past isn't over. It isn't even past."
Source: Requiem for a Nun (1951)

„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

Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: 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. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose 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.

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„Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.“

—  William Faulkner

Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: 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. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.

„If we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green.“

—  William Faulkner

A statement regarding the Emmett Till murder.
Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: If we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green. Maybe the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive. Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.

„There were many things I could do for two or three days and earn enough money to live on for the rest of the month. By temperament I’m a vagabond and a tramp.“

—  William Faulkner

Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: There were many things I could do for two or three days and earn enough money to live on for the rest of the month. By temperament I’m a vagabond and a tramp. I don’t want money badly enough to work for it. In my opinion it’s a shame that there is so much work in the world. One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours — all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.

„No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol — cross or crescent or whatever — that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race.“

—  William Faulkner

Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol — cross or crescent or whatever — that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race. Its various allegories are the charts against which he measures himself and learns to know what he is. It cannot teach a man to be good as the textbook teaches him mathematics. It shows him how to discover himself, evolve for himself a moral codes and standard within his capacities and aspirations, by giving him a matchless example of suffering and sacrifice and the promise of hope.

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

—  William Faulkner

Paris Review interview (1958)
Context: If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoevsky, all of us. Proof of that is that there are about three candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. But what is important is Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, not who wrote them, but that somebody did. The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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