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Ernest Hemingway Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Ernest Hemingway nicknamed himself "Papa" at the age of 27.16

Hemingway's ultra-religious parents were frequently horrified by the frank and suggestive content of their son's work. When they received their copies of his 1924 short story collection In Our Time, a furious Clarence Hemingway sent the books back to the publisher.17

After reading an early draft of A Farewell to Arms at Hemingway's request, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his friend a ten-page letter. He suggested that Hemingway end the book with the passage: "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." Hemingway summed up his thoughts on Fitzgerald's critique in a three-word response at the bottom of the letter: "Kiss my ass."18

Hemingway's machismo sometimes got on his fellow writers' nerves. In 1937, joking about Hemingway's fascination with firearms and weaponry, the writer Max Eastman wrote, "Come out from behind that false hair on your chest, Ernest. We all know you." The next time Hemingway saw Eastman at their publisher's office in New York, he tore his shirt from his chest to prove that he had chest hair before punching Eastman.19

Hemingway and James Joyce were drinking buddies in Paris. Joyce was thin and bespectacled; Hemingway was tall and strapping. When they went out Joyce would get drunk, pick a fight with a bigger guy in the bar and then hide behind Hemingway and yell, "Deal with him, Hemingway. Deal with him."20

After Hemingway and his fourth wife Mary were injured in two successive plane crashes in Africa in 1954, first reports said he had been killed. Some American newspapers even published his obituary.21

By 1957, Hemingway's daily alcohol consumption included Chianti in the morning, wine with lunch and dinner, nightcaps and about a quart of liquor throughout the day.22

Hemingway bought the gun he used to commit suicide from Abercrombie & Fitch, which at the time was a camping and firearms store.23

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