William Faulkner on “Kilroy was here”

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling “Kilroy was here” on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.

Interview with Jean Stein, Lion in the Garden, p. 253.

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4 Responses to William Faulkner on “Kilroy was here”

  1. jeff drouin says:

    You know, I thought I saw Kilroy in Brooklyn recently. Rumor has it he’s been very active in the Midwest and is headed Virginia-way. Watch out!

  2. Reverend says:

    You’re right, Jeff, I just saw Kilroy a few minutes ago in my backyard. He was devouring a Raccoon in the raw, and his eyes were sparkling with the kill. I was terrified, and I then I knew what it meant for him to have been here.

  3. Theswitch90 says:

    Wow…. you guys astonish me with your ignorance, do you even understand what Faulkner is saying? He’s responding to his historical moment using a recognizable symbol of the times to express mans constant struggle to leave something of himself behind on this earth. In essence it is a search for a way for man to leave behind his legacy and have it still speak to those hundreds of years after him… Reverend you posted this thing, I would at least expect you to have some, excuse my bad word play, reverence for it.

  4. Reverend says:


    Lighten up, Francis, for “Ma’am, I was the corn cob.”

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