FOR ALL AGES

101+ William Faulkner Quotes From The Famous Mississippi Writer

Faulkner is a much loved, famous author.

William Faulkner's writing prowess is evident in the fact that he is the winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, the National Book Award, and the 1955 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Born on 25 September 1897 in Mississippi, William was initially named William Cuthbert Falkner after his great grandfather. He was a man known for his aggression during his involvement in the Civil War, his support to build a railway line, and most importantly, for being a bestselling author.

As a young boy, William was fascinated with reading and writing, but despite his interest in literature, he wasn't interested in high school education, and so he dropped out of school and began working in his grandfather's bank. Later, William turned to Phil Stone from Connecticut who shaped his writing skills.

In 1918, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. At this time he also changed a lot of his personal information, including his name which he shortened to William Faulkner. After his return to Mississippi, he published his work for the first time in the student newspaper at the University of Mississippi, where he studied for a short period before he dropped out. In 1924, with the help of Phil Stone, he published a few more of his works, and in 1926, he published his first novel, 'Soldiers' Pay'.

The defining moment in his life came in the form of advice from his writer friend, Sherwood Anderson, who suggested he write about his birthplace of Mississippi. This resulted in his best known novel, 'The Sound And The Fury', in which the fictional town of Yoknapatawpha County is greatly influenced by his experiences in Mississippi. It includes one of the most famous and best lines from his books, "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 an iconic line from 'The Sound And The Fury'.

Over the years he went on to publish more defining novels like, 'As I Lay Dying', 'Absalom, Absalom' and 'Sanctuary'. He also worked as a screenwriter for many movies, including 'Today We Live' (1933) and' The Story Of Temple Drake' (1933).

Let's take a look at some of his most inspiring quotes here, and you can always find more in our ['As I Lay Dying' quotes] and [John Steinbeck quotes].

The Best 'Sound And The Fury' William Faulkner Quotes

Faulkner changed his personal information to become an air force pilot.

'The Sound And The Fury' is one of William Faulkner's works which demands your utmost attention to capture the details.

1. "Caddy smelled like trees."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

2. "It's not when you realize that nothing can help you -religion, pride, anything - it's when you realize that you don't need any aid."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

3. "She loved him not only in spite of but because he himself was incapable of love."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

4. "Father and I protect women from one another from themselves our women."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

5. "Only you and me then amid the pointing and the horror walled by the clean flame."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

6. "If I'd just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

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

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

8. "Purity is a negative state and therefore contrary to nature."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

9. "I say money has no value; it's just the way you spend it."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

10. "I'm glad I haven't got the sort of conscience I've got to nurse like a sick puppy all the time."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

11. "Don't cry I'm bad anyway you can't help it."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

12. "I never promise a woman anything nor let her know what I'm going to give her."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

13. "I'd have wasted a lot of time and trouble before I learned that the best way to take all people."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

14. "It used to be a gentleman was known by his books; nowadays he is known by the ones he has not returned."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

15. "There was something terrible in me sometimes at night I could see it grinning at me I could see it through them grinning at me through their faces it's gone now and I'm sick."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

16. "The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

17. "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, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

18. "I know I’m just a trouble and a burden to you."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

19. "Holding all I used to be sorry about like the new moon holding water."

-William Faulkner, 'The Sound And The Fury'.

William Faulkner 'As I Lay Dying' Quotes

Faulkner married Estelle after she divorced her lawyer husband

Quotes from one of William Faulkner's best novels, 'As I Lay Dying'.

20. "I am not crying now. I am not anything."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

21. "He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma is going to die without words."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

22. "I don't know if a little music ain't about the nicest thing a fellow can have."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

23. "If they want it to tote and ride on a balance, they will have."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

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

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

25. "I be durn if it didn’t give me the creeps."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

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

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

27. "My brother ... went crazy and he went to Jackson too. Jackson is further away than crazy."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

28. "It's bad that a fellow must earn the reward of his right-doing by flouting hisself and his dead."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

29. "My mother is a fish."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

30. "It surged up out of the water and stood for an instant upright upon that surging and heaving desolation like Christ."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

31. "The reason you will not say it is, when you say it, even to yourself, you will know it is true."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

32. "Sometimes I lose faith in human nature for a time; I am assailed by doubt."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

33. "If you could just ravel out into time. That would be nice."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

34. "That was when I learned that words are no good; that words don't ever fit even what they are trying to say at."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

35. "The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

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

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

37. "The dead air shapes the dead darkness, further away than seeing shapes the dead earth."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

38. "I believe in God, God. God, I believe in God."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

39. "That's how the world is going to end."

-William Faulkner, 'As I Lay Dying'.

William Faulkner Quotes About The South

Let's take a look at Faulkner's ability to portray the heart and soul of the South with these quotes.

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

-William Faulkner.

41. "Tell about the South. What's it like there? What do they do there? Why do they live there?"

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

43. "The South. Jesus. No wonder you folks all outlive yourselves by years and years and years."

-William Faulkner.

44. "Years ago we in the South made our women into ladies. Then the war came and made the ladies into ghosts."

-William Faulkner.

45. "The rest of the United States knows next to nothing about the South."

-William Faulkner.

Prominent Quotes From 'Absalom! Absalom!' By William Faulkner

Quotes from the Nobel Prize winning novel, 'Absalom! Absalom!'

46. "Women will show pride and honor about almost anything except love."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

47. "I am older at twenty than a lot of people who have died."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

48. "Like old married people who no longer have anything in common, to do or to talk about, save the same general weight of air to displace."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

49. "When you have hated somebody for forty-three years you will know them awful well."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

50. "There is no such thing as memory, the brain recalls just what the muscles grope for."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

51. "Women, to them any wedding is better than no wedding and a big wedding with a villain preferable to a small one with a saint."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

52. "If happy I can be I will, if suffer I must I can."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

53. "He came to town to find a wife... as he would have gone to market to buy livestock or slaves."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

54. "Surely there is something in madness, even the demoniac, which Satan flees, aghast at his own handiwork, and which God looks on in pity."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

55. "To the man grown the long crowded mile of his boyhood becomes less than the throw of a stone."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

56. "Probably by that time he had learned that there were three things and no more: breathing, pleasure, darkness."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

57. "There are some things for which three words are three too many, and three thousand words that many words too less."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

58. "I believed that there were things which still mattered just because they had mattered once."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

59. "There are occurrences which stop us dead... through which events transpire as... in a soundless vacuum."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

60. "Only through the blood of our men and the tears of our women could He stay this demon and efface his name and lineage from the earth."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

61. "I, the dreamer clinging yet to the dream as the patient clings to the last thin unbearable ecstatic instant of agony."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

62. "When you have plenty of good strong hating you don't need hope because the hating will be enough to nourish you."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

63. "It takes an awful lot of character to quit anything when you are losing."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

64. "I have heard too much, I have been told too much; I have had to listen to too much, too long."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

65. "I don't hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I don't. I don't! I don't hate it!"

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

66. "Better that he were dead, better that he had never lived."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

67. "Without money there could be no pleasure."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

68. "Only the peak feels so sound and stable that the beginning of the falling is hidden for a little while."

-William Faulkner, 'Absalom! Absalom!'.

Notable Quotes From William Faulkner

These quotes by William Faulkner make you take a second to remain lost in them.

69. "God is foolish at times, but at least He’s a gentleman."

-William Faulkner.

70. "Who gathers the withered rose?"

-William Faulkner.

71. "It does last, Spring does. You'd almost think there was some purpose to it."

-William Faulkner.

72. "Wanton stars galloped neighing like unicorns in blue meadows."

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

74. "I am too old for this. I was born too old for it, and so I am sick to death for quiet."

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

76. "You're not being tried by common sense, You're being tried by a jury."

-William Faulkner.

77. "Stars were golden unicorns neighing unheard through blue meadows."

-William Faulkner.

78. "You have to be born for this like you have to be born a butcher or a barber, I guess."

-William Faulkner.

Famous Quotes By William Faulkner

Check out these quotes by Faulkner, well-known among his fans.

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

-William Faulkner.

80. "Dreams have only one owner at a time. That's why dreamers are lonely."

-William Faulkner.

81. "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... The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work."

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

84. "No man is a failure who is enjoying life."

-William Faulkner.

85. "We always admire the other person more after we've tried to do his job."

-William Faulkner.

86. "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.

87. "I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible."

-William Faulkner.

88. "Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought."

-William Faulkner.

89. "In writing, you must kill all your darlings."

-William Faulkner.

90. "Business is always interfering with pleasure, but it makes other pleasures possible."

-William Faulkner.

91. "It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart."

-William Faulkner.

92. "All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection."

-William Faulkner.

93. "Wonder. Go on and wonder."

-William Faulkner.

94. "Facts and truth really don't have much to do with each other."

-William Faulkner.

95. "Memory believes before knowing remembers."

-William Faulkner.

96. "I believe that man will not merely endure he will prevail."

-William Faulkner.

97. "The salvation of the world is in man's suffering."

-William Faulkner.

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

-William Faulkner.

99. "The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics."

-William Faulkner.

100. "If a story is in you, it has to come out."

-William Faulkner.

101. "Try to be better than yourself."

-William Faulkner.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 101+ William Faulkner quotes, then why not take a look at these [Hemingway love quotes], or these [Thomas Wolfe quotes] too?

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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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