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Fitzgerald & Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald had a low opinion of Ernest Hemingway as a human being. ("He was always willing to lend a hand," he once drily declared, "to those above him.") But he had no doubt about his rival's ability:

"He's a great writer," Fitzgerald agreed. "If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have tried to kill him. I was the champ and when I read his stuff I knew he had something. So I dropped a heavy glass skylight on his head at a drinking party. But you can't kill the guy. He's not human."

[Fitzgerald wasn't kidding. In addition to various hunting and sporting accidents, Hemingway crashed planes on several occasions. During their 1954 African safari, Ernest and Mary crashed near Murchison Falls and were rescued by a passing sight-seeing boat. Forty-eight hours later, they crashed again in a second plane. Among Hemingway's injuries? A ruptured kidney, liver and spleen, a sprained arm and leg, crushed vertebrae, a paralysed sphincter, a burnt scalp, a major concussion and the temporary loss of hearing and eyesight. Amusingly, they were incorrectly reported dead in several newspapers around the world and Hemingway had the great pleasure of reading his obituary days later, very much alive, in a cafe in Venice.]

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