William Faulkner was an American novelist and short story writer most known for his works set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, which was based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner spent the majority of his life.

Faulkner is usually regarded as one of the best writers of Southern literature and one of the most acclaimed writers of American literature.

Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, but his family relocated to Oxford when he was a toddler.

He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force when World War I broke out, but he never saw combat.

After returning to Oxford, he spent three semesters at the University of Mississippi before dropping out. After that, he moved to New Orleans and wrote his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay (1925).

After returning to Oxford, he wrote his first novel, Sartoris (1927), which is set in Yoknapatawpha County.

He released The Sound and the Fury in 1929. He wrote As I Lay Dying the following year. He moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter in search of better financial success.

With the release of Malcolm Cowley’s The Portable Faulkner and his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, Faulkner became the sole Mississippi-born Nobel winner.

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to two of his works: A Fable (1954) and The Reivers (1962).

His financial success enabled him to purchase Rowan Oak, an estate in Oxford. On July 6, 1962, Faulkner died of a heart attack caused by a fall off his horse the month before.

His 1929 work The Sound and the Fury was named sixth in the Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century in 1998, with As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932). Similar lists include Absalom, Absalom! (1936).

Let’s go through the best quotes from William Faulkner.


William Faulkner Quotes on Life, Love, Time and Death

The reason you will not say it is, when you say it, even to yourself, you will know it is true. ~ William Faulkner.

Sometimes I lose faith in human nature for a time; I am assailed by doubt. ~ William Faulkner.

If you could just ravel out into time. That would be nice. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

The reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time. ~ William Faulkner.

People to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too. ~ William Faulkner.

The dead air shapes the dead darkness, further away than seeing shapes the dead earth. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

She loved him not only in spite of but because he himself was incapable of love. ~ William Faulkner.

Father and I protect women from one another from themselves our women. ~ William Faulkner.

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

I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. ~ William Faulkner.

Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. ~ William Faulkner.

In writing, you must kill all your darlings. ~ William Faulkner.

Business is always interfering with pleasure, but it makes other pleasures possible. ~ William Faulkner.

It is the writer’s privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart. ~ William Faulkner.

All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. ~ William Faulkner.

Wonder. Go on and wonder. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

Better that he were dead, better that he had never lived. ~ William Faulkner.

Without money there could be no pleasure. ~ William Faulkner.

Only the peak feels so sound and stable that the beginning of the falling is hidden for a little while. ~ William Faulkner.

God is foolish at times, but at least He’s a gentleman. ~ William Faulkner.

Who gathers the withered rose? ~ William Faulkner.

It does last, Spring does. You’d almost think there was some purpose to it. ~ William Faulkner.

Wanton stars galloped neighing like unicorns in blue meadows. ~ William Faulkner.

I am not crying now. I am not anything. ~ William Faulkner.

He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma is going to die without words. ~ William Faulkner.

I don’t know if a little music ain’t about the nicest thing a fellow can have. ~ William Faulkner.

If they want it to tote and ride on a balance, they will have. ~ William Faulkner.

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

It’s bad that a fellow must earn the reward of his right-doing by flouting hisself and his dead. ~ William Faulkner.

My mother is a fish. ~ William Faulkner.

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

I be durn if it didn’t give me the creeps. ~ William Faulkner.

How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home. ~ William Faulkner.

My brother … went crazy and he went to Jackson too. Jackson is further away than crazy. ~ William Faulkner.

I believe in God, God. God, I believe in God. ~ William Faulkner.

That’s how the world is going to end. ~ William Faulkner.

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

Tell about the South. What’s it like there? What do they do there? Why do they live there? ~ William Faulkner.

Everyone in the South has no time for reading because they are all too busy writing. ~ William Faulkner.

The South. Jesus. No wonder you folks all outlive yourselves by years and years and years. ~ William Faulkner.

Years ago we in the South made our women into ladies. Then the war came and made the ladies into ghosts. ~ William Faulkner.

The rest of the United States knows next to nothing about the South. ~ William Faulkner.

Women will show pride and honor about almost anything except love. ~ William Faulkner, 

I am older at twenty than a lot of people who have died. ~ William Faulkner.

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

When you have hated somebody for forty-three years you will know them awful well. ~ William Faulkner.

There is no such thing as memory, the brain recalls just what the muscles grope for. ~ William Faulkner.

Caddy smelled like trees. ~ William Faulkner.

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

Memory believes before knowing remembers. ~ William Faulkner.

I believe that man will not merely endure he will prevail. ~ William Faulkner.

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

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.

The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. ~ William Faulkner.

If a story is in you, it has to come out. ~ William Faulkner.

Try to be better than yourself. ~ William Faulkner.

If I’d just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

Purity is a negative state and therefore contrary to nature. ~ William Faulkner.

I say money has no value; it’s just the way you spend it. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

Don’t cry I’m bad anyway you can’t help it. ~ William Faulkner.

I never promise a woman anything nor let her know what I’m going to give her. ~ William Faulkner.

I’d have wasted a lot of time and trouble before I learned that the best way to take all people. ~ William Faulkner.

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

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 field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools. ~ 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 know I’m just a trouble and a burden to you. ~ William Faulkner.

Holding all I used to be sorry about like the new moon holding water. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

He came to town to find a wife… as he would have gone to market to buy livestock or slaves. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

To the man grown the long crowded mile of his boyhood becomes less than the throw of a stone. ~ William Faulkner.

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

There are some things for which three words are three too many, and three thousand words that many words too less. ~ William Faulkner.

I believed that there were things which still mattered just because they had mattered once. ~ William Faulkner.

There are occurrences which stop us dead… through which events transpire as… in a soundless vacuum. ~ William Faulkner.

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.

I, the dreamer clinging yet to the dream as the patient clings to the last thin unbearable ecstatic instant of agony. ~ William Faulkner.

When you have plenty of good strong hating you don’t need hope because the hating will be enough to nourish you. ~ William Faulkner.

It takes an awful lot of character to quit anything when you are losing. ~ William Faulkner.

I have heard too much, I have been told too much; I have had to listen to too much, too long. ~ William Faulkner.

Freedom comes with the decision: it does not wait for the act. ~ William Faulkner.

I am too old for this. I was born too old for it, and so I am sick to death for quiet. ~ William Faulkner.

Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean. ~ William Faulkner.

You’re not being tried by common sense, You’re being tried by a jury. ~ William Faulkner.

Stars were golden unicorns neighing unheard through blue meadows. ~ William Faulkner.

You have to be born for this like you have to be born a butcher or a barber, I guess. ~ William Faulkner.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past. ~ William Faulkner.

Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely. ~ 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… The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work. ~ William Faulkner.

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

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

No man is a failure who is enjoying life. ~ William Faulkner.

We always admire the other person more after we’ve tried to do his job. ~ William Faulkner.


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