Thomas Wolfe Quotes

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Thomas Wolfe Quotes

75 Best Thomas Wolfe Quotes

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She was buried in his flesh. She throbbed in the beat of his pulses. She was wine in his blood, a music in his heart

There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves.

You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity. 

The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it. 

All things belonging to the earth will never change-the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth-all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth-these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever. 

We have reached the pinnacle of success as son as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity. 

Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.  

If a man has talent and can't use it, he's failed. If he uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he uses the whole of it, he has succeeded, and won a satisfaction and triumph few men ever know. 

Something has spoken to me in the night...and told me that I shall die, I know not where. Saying: "[Death is] to lose the earth you know for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth. 

We are the sum of all the moments in our lives - all that is ours is in them: we cannot escape it or conceal it.

Thomas Wolfe Quotes

All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.  

Publishing is a very mysterious business. It is hard to predict what kind of sale or reception a book will have, and advertising seems to do very little good. 

America - it is a fabulous country, the only fabulous country; it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time. 

Toil on, son, and do not lose heart or hope. Let nothing you dismay. You are not utterly forsaken. I, too, am here--here in the darkness waiting, here attentive, here approving of your labor and your dream.

 The thought of these vast stacks of books would drive him mad: the more he read, the less he seemed to know — the greater the number of the books he read, the greater the immense uncountable number of those which he could never read would seem to be…. The thought that other books were waiting for him tore at his heart forever. 

But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again.  

The dark ancestral cave, the womb from which mankind emerged into the light, forever pulls one back - but...you can't go home again...you can't go...back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. You Can't Go Home Again 

I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once. 

Most of the time we think we're sick, it's all in the mind. 

There was a time in the 1930s when magazine writers could actually make a good living. 'The Saturday Evening Post' and 'Collier's' both had three stories in each issue. These were usually entertaining, and people really went for them. But then television came along, and now of course, information technology... the new way of killing time.

More Famous Quotes Just Like Thomas Wolfe Quotes

The old hunger for voyages fed at his heart....To go alone...into strange cities; to meet strange people and to pass again before they could know him; to wander, like his own legend, across the earth--it seemed to him there could be no better thing than that. 

There is one voyage, the first, the last, the only one. 

One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years. 

Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We'll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure. 

The mountains were his masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change.  

There came to him an image of man’s whole life upon the earth. It seemed to him that all man’s life was like a tiny spurt of flame that blazed out briefly in an illimitable and terrifying darkness, and that all man’s grandeur, tragic dignity, his heroic glory, came from the brevity and smallness of this flame. He knew his life was little and would be extinguished, and that only darkness was immense and everlasting. And he knew that he would die with defiance on his lips, and that the shout of his denial would ring with the last pulsing of his heart into the maw of all-engulfing night. 

It seems to me that in the orbit of our world you are the North Pole, I the South--so much in balance, in agreement--and yet... the whole world lies between. 

Making the world safe for hypocrisy.  

My dear, dear girl we can't turn back the days that have gone. We can't turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire--a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron--which we cannot get back.

Men do not escape from life because life is dull, but life escapes from men because men are little.

Thomas Wolfe Quotes

The essence of belief is doubt, the essence of reality is questioning. The essence of Time is Flow, not Fix. The essence of faith is the knowledge that all flows and that everything must change. The growing man is Man Alive, and his "philosophy" must grow, must flow, with him. . . . the man too fixed today, unfixed tomorrow - and his body of beliefs is nothing but a series of fixations. 

There’s no sight on earth more appealing than that of a woman making dinner for someone she loves. 

Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into the nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas. 

The modern picture of the artist began to form: The poor, but free spirit, plebeian but aspiring only to be classless, to cut himself forever free from the bonds of the greedy bourgeoisie, to be whatever the fat burghers feared most, to cross the line wherever they drew it, to look at the world in a way they couldn't see, to be high, live low, stay young forever -- in short, to be the bohemian.  

The human mind is a fearful instrument of adaptation, and in nothing is this more clearly shown than in its mysterious powers of resilience, self-protection, and self-healing. Unless an event completely shatters the order of one's life, the mind, if it has youth and health and time enough, accepts the inevitable and gets itself ready for the next happening like a grimly dutiful American tourist who, on arriving at a new town, looks around him, takes his bearings, and says, "Well, where do I go from here? 

Every moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. 

By God, I shall spend the rest of my life getting my heart back, healing and forgetting every scar you put upon me when I was a child. The first move I ever made, after the cradle, was to crawl for the door, and every move I have made since has been an effort to escape.

Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time. 

And it was this that awed him — the weird combination of fixity and change, the terrible moment of immobility stamped with eternity in which, passing life at great speed, both the observer and the observed seem frozen in time

His enemy was time. Or perhaps it was his friend. One never knows for sure.

Is this not the true romantic feeling; not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you.

is this not the true romantic feeling

We do not want to be told what we know. We do not want to call things by their names, although we're willing to call one another bad ones. We call meanness nobility and hatred honor. The way to make yourself a hero is to make me out a scoundrel. You won't admit that either, but it's true. 

Death the last voyage, the longest, and the best. 

A liberal is a conservative who has been arrested.

And who shall say--whatever disenchantment follows--that we ever forget magic; or that we can ever betray, on this leaden earth, the apple-tree, the singing, and the gold?  

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years. 

He was like a man who stands upon a hill above the town he had left, yet does not say 'The town is near,' but turns his eyes upon the distant soaring ranges. 

Loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.

Fiction is not fact, but fiction is fact selected and understood, fiction is fact arranged and charged with purpose.

Fiction is not fact

I believe that we are lost here in America, but I believe we shall be found. And this belief, which mounts now to the catharsis of knowledge and conviction, is for me--and I think for all of us--not only our own hope, but America's everlasting, living dream.   

He who lets himself be whored by fashion will be whored by time. 

In Sleep we lie all naked and alone, in Sleep we are united at the heart of night and darkness, and we are strange and beautiful asleep; for we are dying the darkness and we know no death. 

I don't know yet what I am capable of doing, but, by God, I have genius -- I know it too well to blush behind it. 

Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. 

What I had to face, the very bitter lesson that everyone who wants to write has got to learn, was that a thing may in itself be the finest piece of writing one has ever done, and yet have absolutely no place in the manuscript one hopes to publish. 

Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America -- that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement. At any rate, that is how it seemed to young George Webber, who was never so assured of his purpose as when he was going somewhere on a train. And he never had the sense of home so much as when he felt that he was going there. It was only when he got there that his homelessness began. 

Not even the most powerful organs of the press, including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times, can discover a new artist or certify his work and make it stick. They can only bring you the scores. 

Only the dead know Brooklyn. 

Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird 

Peace fell upon her spirit. Strong comfort and assurance bathed her whole being. Life was so solid and splendid, and so good. 

A young man is so strong, so mad, so certain, and so lost. He has everything and he is able to use nothing.

A young man is so strong

This is man, who, if he can remember ten golden moments of joy and happiness out of all his years, ten moments unmarked by care, unseamed by aches or itches, has power to lift himself with his expiring breath and say: "I have lived upon this earth and known glory!

A sect, incidentally, is a religion with no political power. 

I hate stories in which a person has an occupation and you never see him working at it, like all those marvelous Cary Grant movies where he's a surgeon, and you never see him in the operating room. 

I used to enjoy using dots where they would be least expected, not at the end of a sentence but in the middle, creating the effect... of a skipped beat. It seemed to me the mind reacted - first!... in dots, dashes, and exclamation points, then rationalized, drew up a brief, with periods. 

It's the hardest work in the world. The only thing that will get you through it is maybe someone will applaud when it's over. 

Once you have speech, you don't have to wait for natural selection! If you want more strength, you build a stealth bomber; if you don't like bacteria, you invent penicillin; if you want to communicate faster, you invent the Internet. Once speech evolved, all of human life changed. 

The problem with fiction, it has to be plausible. That's not true with non-fiction.

To believe that new monsters will arise as vicious as the old, to believe that the great Pandora's Box of human frailty, once opened, will never show a diminution of its ugly swarm, is to help, by just that much, to make it so forever.

It was a cruel city, but it was a lovely one; a savage city, yet it had such tenderness; a bitter, harsh, and violent catacomb of stone an steel and tunneled rock, slashed savagely with light, and roaring, fighting a constant ceaseless warfare of men and of machinery; and yet it was so sweetly and so delicately pulsed, as full of warmth, of passion, and of love, as it was full of hate.

There is no happy land. There is no end to hunger.

He saw now that you can't go home again--not ever. There was no road back.

He was twenty eight years old now, and wise enough to know that there are sometimes reasons of which the reason knows nothing, and that the fictional pattern of one's life, formed and set by years of living, is not to be discarded quite as easily as one may throw away a battered hat or worn-out shoe.

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(2) comments

Jan Lucas

This site mixes quotes by Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) with those of Tom Wolfe, who died in 2018.

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    admin

    It’s fixed now. Thanks for your help

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