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American novelist (1900-1938)

There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.

THOMAS WOLFE, The Web and the Rock

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, Look Homeward, Angel

Man is born to live, to suffer, and to die, and what befalls him is a tragic lot. There is no denying this in the final end. But we must ... deny it all along the way.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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

THOMAS WOLFE, The Autobiography of an American Novelist

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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

THOMAS WOLFE, Look Homeward, Angel

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.

THOMAS WOLFE, The Hills Beyond

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, A Stone, a Leaf, a Door: Poems

Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox in America--that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

America ... it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time.

THOMAS WOLFE, Of Time and the River

For he had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself, and he had found out about them as one has to find out --through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own damn foolishness, through being mistaken and wrong and an idiot and egotistical and aspiring and hopeful and believing and confused.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, Selections from the Works of Thomas Wolfe

So, then, to every man his chance—to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity—to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him—this, seeker, is the promise of America.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, Look Homeward, Angel

This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another's work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false--yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of the nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes.

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

THOMAS WOLFE, Look Homeward, Angel

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

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again

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

THOMAS WOLFE, The Web and the Rock

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.

THOMAS WOLFE, Look Homeward, Angel

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

THOMAS WOLFE, You Can't Go Home Again


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