Even a liar can be scared into telling the truth, same as an honest man can be tortured into telling a lie.

Light in August (1932)
tagged: deception, lies, truth

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More from William Faulkner

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again.

Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)

It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago, and like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them. It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: He made the books and he died.

Letter to Malcolm Cowley (11 February 1949)

Be scared. You can’t help that. But don’t be afraid. Ain’t nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid. A bear or a deer, too, has got to be scared of a coward the same as a brave man has got to be.

“The Bear” in The Saturday Evening Post (9 May 1942)

Between grief and nothing I will take grief.

The Wild Palms (1939)

Poor man. Poor mankind.

Light in August (1932)