Thomas Wolfe Quotes & Sayings

The very best Thomas Wolfe quotes on life, culture and drama.

What is Thomas Wolfe known for?

Thomas Wolfe (1900 – 1938) was an American novelist and was known for being a successful writer during the 1920s and 1930s.

His notable works include You Can’t Go Home Again, Of Time and The River, From Death to Morning, and Look Homeward Angel. He also co-wrote three plays with his close friend and editor, Maxwell Perkins.

Famous Quotes by Thomas Wolfe

One of the most famous quotes by Thomas Wolfe is “You can’t go home again“, from his novel of the same name and explores the concept of not being able to return to your hometown, nostalgia and how we remember our pasts. In the novel, the main character had written a story based in his hometown, with the locals not keen on the portrayal of the town or its inhabitants – forcing the character to not return.

Wolfe’s literary works – his novels, plays and quotes are all testament to his creative, poetic and analytical considerations of life during his short 38 years.


Thomas Wolfe Quotes


“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.” Thomas Wolfe


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


“I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.” Thomas Wolfe


“A lie may fool someone else, but it tells you the truth: you’re weak.” Thomas Wolfe


“Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.” Thomas Wolfe


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


“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


“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


“Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.” Thomas Wolfe


“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 have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.” Thomas Wolfe


“Most of the time we think we’re sick, it’s all in the mind.” Thomas Wolfe


“Everybody is going to be what they are, and whatever they are, there’s not going to be anything to apologize about.” Thomas Wolfe


“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.” Thomas Wolfe


“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


“Man is born to live, to suffer, and to die, and what befalls him is a tragic lot.” Thomas Wolfe


“Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America – that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement.” Thomas Wolfe


“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?” Thomas Wolfe


“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


“Death the last voyage, the longest, and the best.” Thomas Wolfe


“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


“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.” Thomas Wolfe


“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.” Thomas Wolfe


“Loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.” Thomas Wolfe


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