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A collection of thoughts and quotes by Walker Percy on infidelity, life, women, wok, choice, recreation, politics, poetry, art, modernity, disappointment, society, nostalgia, technology, philosophy, confusion, adolescence and despair.

62 Insightful Quotes By Walker Percy, The Renowned American Novelist

Quick Facts

Famous As
Writer, Novelist, Philosopher

Born On

Died On

Born In
Birmingham

Died At Age

Walker Percy was one of the most distinguished writers of the twentieth century. In his early life, Percy was saw the deaths of his immediate relatives and lived the life of an orphan kid. Percy lated received a medical degree from the Columbia University in New York. His career as an author began when he was rested with tuberculosis and started reading Soren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Percy’s thoughts, books, quotes, writings and novels were closely associated to the real world and the places he lived. His first novel, 'The Moviegoer’ bagged the National Book Award for Fiction in U.S. ‘The Last Gentleman’, ‘Love in the Ruins’, ‘Lancelot’, ‘The Second Coming’ and ‘The Thanatos Syndrome’ have been few of his notable books. He gained recognition for both his fiction and non-fiction works. His thoughts, quotations, sayings, work and writings revolved around exploring, ‘the dislocation of the man in Modern Age’. We have put together a collection of quotes from his life!

You can get all A's and still flunk life.

- The Second Coming, Walker Percy

Why did God make women so beautiful and man with such a loving heart?

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him.

- Walker Percy

You live in a deranged age - more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

My mother refused to let me fail. So I insisted.

- The Second Coming, Walker Percy

I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?

- Walker Percy

Losing hope is not so bad. There's something worse: losing hope and hiding it from yourself.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Small disconnected facts, if you take note of them, have a way of becoming connected.

- The Thanatos Syndrome, Walker Percy

Jews wait for the Lord, Protestants sing hymns to him, Catholics say mass and eat him.

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie. Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives...

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Fiction doesn’t tell us something we don’t know, it tells us something we know but don’t know that we know.

- Walker Percy

I couldn't stand it. I still can't stand it. I can't stand the way things are. I cannot tolerate this age.

- Walker Percy

To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Nobody but a Southerner knows the wrenching rinsing sadness of the cities of the North.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Where there is chance of gain, there is also chance of loss. Whenever one courts great happiness, one also risks malaise.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

There is no pain on this earth like seeing the same woman look at another man the way she once looked at you.

- Walker Percy

Lost in the mystery of finding myself alive.

- Walker Percy

It is not a bad thing to settle for the Little Way, not the big search for the big happiness but the sad little happiness of drinks and kisses, a good little car and a warm deep thigh.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Home may be where the heart is but it's no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

It is possible, however, that the artist is both thin-skinned and prophetic and, like the canary lowered into the mine shaft to test the air, has caught a whiff of something lethal.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

Why is it that one can look at a lion or a planet or an owl or at someone's finger as long as one pleases, but looking into the eyes of another person is, if prolonged past a second, a perilous affair?

- Walker Percy

Suppose you ask God for a miracle and God says yes, very well. How do you live the rest of your life?

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

Have you noticed that only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real?

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

People usually told him the same joke two or three times.

- Walker Percy

Being uneducated is no guarantee against being obnoxious.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

During my last year in college I discovered that I was picking up the mannerisms of Akim Tamiroff, the only useful thing, in fact, that I learned in the entire four years.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

At that time the only treatment of angelism, that is, excessive abstraction of the self from itself, was recovery of the self through ordeal.

- Walker Percy

Nowadays when a good-looking woman flirts with me, however idly, I guffaw like some ruddy English lord, haw haw, har har, harr harr.

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

At night the years come back and perch around my bed like ghosts.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

...this miserable trick the romantic plays upon himself: of setting just beyond his reach the very thing he prizes.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

The origin of consciousness is the initiation of the sign-user into the world of signs by a sign-giver.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

Misery misery son of a bitch of all miseries.

- Walker Percy

A great scientist once said that genius consists not in making great discoveries but in seeing the connection between small discoveries.

- Walker Percy

I believe in God and the whole business but I love women best, music and science next, whiskey next, God fourth, and my fellowman hardly at all.

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

People who are ordinarily understood to dislike each other or at least to be indifferent toward each other discover that they have much in common.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

But the expectation of the self, to be informed in its nothingness--if only I can get out of this old place and into the right new place, I can become a new person--places a heavy burden on travel.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

...the self can be as desperately stranded in the transcendence of theory as in the immanence of consumption.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

Soap shining beauty.

- Walker Percy

Nothing remains but desire, and desire comes howling down Elysian Fields like a mistral.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

In my new freedom I remember thinking: If one knows what he wants to do, others will not only not stand in the way but will lend a hand from simple curiosity and amazement.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

The second I left my old life's cowpath, I discovered I didn't need a drink. It became possible to stand still in the dark under the oaks, hands at my sides, and watch and wait.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

School - You can get all A's and still flunk life.

- Walker Percy

Have you noticed that the narrower the view the more you can see? For the first time I understand how old ladies can sit on their porches for years.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

How strange to think that you cannot pass along the discovery.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

What Descartes did not know: no such isolated individual as he described can be conscious.

- Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Walker Percy

The drowsiness returns. It is unwelcome. I recognize it as the sort of fitful twilight which has come over me of late, a twilight where waking dreams are dreamed and sleep never comes.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

In New Orleans I have noticed that people are happiest when they are going to funerals, making money, taking care of the dead, or putting on masks at Mardi Gras so nobody knows who they are.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

What nuns don’t realize is that they look better in nun clothes than in J. C. Penney pantsuits.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

This Midwestern sky is the nakedest loneliest sky in America. To escape it, people live inside and underground.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Peklo nemůže bt pln ohně - existuj daleko horš věci.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

....With pulleys and ropes and time to plan one could move anything. Now that she thought of it, why couldn’t anyone do anything he or she wished, given the tools and the time.

- Walker Percy

I have observed that it is no longer possible for one young man to speak unwarily to another not known to him, except in certain sections of the South and West, and certainly not with a book in his hand.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Pascal told only half the story. He said man was a thinking reed. What man is, is a thinking reed and a walking genital.

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

Is all niceness then or is all buggery? How can a man be forty-five years old and still not know whether all is niceness or buggery? How does one know for sure?

- Lancelot, Walker Percy

Firing the sunset gun

- Love in the Ruins, Walker Percy

But if there's nothing wrong with me, he thought, then there is something wrong with the world. And if there is nothing wrong with the world, then I have wasted my life and that is the worst mistake of all.

- The Last Gentleman, Walker Percy

When these long telephone silences come, it is a sure sign that love is over.

- The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

Life is fits and starts, mostly fits.

- The Thanatos Syndrome, Walker Percy