Nathanael West Quotes

Enjoy the top 57 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Nathanael West.

Nathanael West Quotes

He read it for the same reason an animal tears at a wounded foot: to hurt the pain.
— Nathanael West —

Numbers constitute the only universal language.

— Nathanael West

He read it for the same reason an animal tears at a wounded foot: to hurt the pain.

— Nathanael West

Only those who still have hope can benefit from tears.

— Nathanael West

He smoked a cigarette, standing in the dark and listening to her undress. She made sea sounds; something flapped like a sail; there was the creak of ropes; then he heard the wave-against-a-wharf smack of rubber on flesh. Her call for him to hurry was a sea-moan, and when he lay beside her, she heaved, tidal, moon-driven.

— Nathanael West

He's an escapist. He wants to cultivate his interior garden.

— Nathanael West

But whether he was happy or not was hard to say. Probably he was neither, just as a plant is neither.

— Nathanael West

You once said to me that I talk like a man in a book. I not only talk, but think and feel like one. I have spent my life in books; literature has deeply dyed my brain its own colour. This literary colouring is a protective one
like the brown of the rabbit or the checks of the quail
making it impossible for me to tell where literature ends and I begin.

— Nathanael West

The sun is a joke.

— Nathanael West

Crowds of people moved through the streets with a dream-like violence.

— Nathanael West

What goes on in the sea is of no interest to the rock

— Nathanael West

The way to be gay is to make other people gay," Miss Lonelyhearts said. "Sleep with me and I'll be one gay dog.

— Nathanael West

But the romantic atmosphere only heightened his feeling of icy fatness.

— Nathanael West

Faye burst into the room. She ignored Homer and went straight to the couch.
Now what in hell's the matter?" she exploded.
Darling daughter," he said. "I have been badly taken, and this gentleman has been kind enough to let me rest for a moment."
He had a fit or something," Homer said.
She whirled around on him so suddenly that he was startled.
How do you do?" she said, holding her hand forward and high up.
He shook it gingerly.
Charmed," she said, when he mumbled something.
She spun around once more.
It's my heart," Harry said. "I can't stand it.

— Nathanael West

We must take the long view-every defeat is a victory in a war of attrition.

— Nathanael West

Americans have dissipated their racial energy in an orgy of stone-breaking. In their few years they have broken more stones than did centuries of Egyptians, and they have done their work hysterically, desperately, almost as if they knew that the stones would some day break them.

— Nathanael West

His heart was a rose and in his skull another rose bloomed.
The room was full of grace. A sweet, clean grace, not washed clean, but clean as the innersides of the inner petals of a newly forced rosebud.

— Nathanael West

Let us consider the holes in our own bodies and into what these congenital wounds open. Under the skin of man is a wondrous jungle where veins like lush tropical growths hang along over-ripe organs and weed-like entrails writhe in squirming tangles of red and yellow. In this jungle, flitting from rock-gray lungs to golden intestines, from liver to lights and back to liver again, lives a bird called the soul.

— Nathanael West

Man spends a great deal of time making order out of chaos, yet insists that the emotions be disordered. I order my emotions: I am insane.

— Nathanael West

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