Thomas Wolfe

Quotations

Something has spoken to me in the night, burning the tapers of the waning year; something has spoken in the night, and told me I shall die, I know not where. Saying: “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.
Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded, toward which the conscience of the world is tending-a wind is rising, and the rivers flow.”

You Can't Go Home Again (1940 - posthumous)

There had been a time on earth when poets had been young and dead and famous — and were men. But now the poet as the tragic child of grandeur and destiny had changed. The child of genius was a woman, now, and the man was gone.

The Web and the Rock (1939)

Making the world safe for hypocrisy.

Look Homeward, Angel

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 and 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.

The Web and the Rock

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

The Web and the Rock

If a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded, and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know.

The Web and the Rock

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.

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.

You Can't Go Home Again

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.

Of Time and the River