Quotations by Faulkner, William


For the holy are susceptible too to evil, even as you and I, signori; they too are helpless before sin without God’s aid. … And the holy can be fooled by sin as quickly as you or I, signori. Quicker, because they are holy.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
“Mistral,” These 13 (1931)
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Added on 10-Mar-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
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There’s no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others. But a man shouldn’t fool with booze until he’s fifty, and then he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
(Attributed)

Quoted in James M. Webb and A. Wigfall Green, William Faulkner of Oxford (1965). See also Wright and Chandler.
Added on 8-Aug-13 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
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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.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

As quoted in Lauren Bacall, By Myself (1978). Often paraphrased or rendered back into standard English, e.g., "When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me."
Added on 3-Nov-17 | Last updated 3-Nov-17
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But I aint so sho that ere a man has the right to say what is crazy and what aint. It’s like there was a fellow in every man that’s done a-past the sanity or the insanity, that watches the sane and insane doings of that man with the same horror and the same astonishment.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
As I Lay Dying (1930)
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Added on 3-Mar-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
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Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it. … That’s how I reckon a man is crazy. That’s how he cant see eye to eye with other folks. And I reckon they aint nothin else to do with him but what the most folks says is right.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
As I Lay Dying (1930)
Added on 25-Feb-20 | Last updated 25-Feb-20
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A mule will work for you ten years for the privilege of kicking you once.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem], (Ch. 6) “Old Man” (1939)
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Variant: "... [V]indictive and patient (it is a known fact that he will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once) ...." (Sartoris (1929))
Added on 10-Jan-20 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
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Yes, he thought, between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem], ch. 9 (1939)
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Added on 21-Jan-20 | Last updated 21-Jan-20
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Between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms (1939)
Added on 5-Oct-15 | Last updated 5-Oct-15
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I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem with decency and self-respect and whatever courage is demanded, is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Letter to David Kirk, Oxford, Miss. (8 Mar 1956)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
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Well, between Scotch and nothin’, I suppose I’d take Scotch. It’s the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Quoted in The National Observer (3 Feb 1964)

At least one source breaks this into two quotations, with the second sentence comparing bourbon to moonshine.
Added on 11-Feb-20 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man’s dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. 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 (1897-1962) American novelist
Speech to the UNESCO Commission, New York (1959)

Quoted in The New York Times (3 Oct 1959)
Added on 28-Jan-20 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
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