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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Love #Wall #Home

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Girl #Heart #Blood

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

    #Mistake #Silly #Looks

  • I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Thousand

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Home #Men #Years

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Heart #Night #Men

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

    #Life #Success #Money

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

    #Strong #Men #Mad

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Dream #Heart #Son

  • 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

    #Beautiful #Lying #Sleep

  • 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

    #Struggle #Reality #Growth

  • Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Art #Culture #Belief

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

    #Lonely #Loneliness #Being Alone

  • O lost, And by the wind grieved, Ghost, Come back again.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Wind #Ghost #Lost

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Cutting #Artist #Forever

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Home #Night #Land

  • 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

    #Men #Suffering #Finals

  • The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Loneliness #Facts #Belief

  • 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

    #Writing #Done #Pieces

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

    #Love #Food #Sight

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Lying #Our World #Agreement

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Heart #Cities #People

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Country #Time #America

  • You can't go home again
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Inspirational #Home #Loss

  • 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

    #Genius #Wells #Behinds

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Time #Night #Years

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Dream #Believe #Thinking

  • 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?
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Apples #Tree #Singing

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Book #Heart #Numbers

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Art #Time #New York

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Flower #Sleep #Dark

  • ...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
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Memories #Home #Dark

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

    #Strong #Comfort #Spirit

  • ...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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Eye #Men #Towns

  • 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

    #Healing #Self #Order

  • [T]he 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Philosophy #Reality #Men

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Home #America #Movement

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Children #Moving #Heart

  • 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

    #Time #Home #Winning

  • Only the dead know Brooklyn.
    -- Thomas Wolfe

    #Brooklyn