F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Cameo in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

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F. Scott Fitzgerald objected to what Ernest Hemingway had written about him in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” which Hemingway had published in the August 1936 Esquire:

“He remembered poor Scott Fitzgerald and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, ‘The rich are different from you and me.’ And how some one had said to Scott, Yes, they have more money. But that was not humorous to Scott. He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren’t it wrecked him as much as any other thing that wrecked him.”

Fitzgerald wrote immediately to his frenemy:

“Dear Ernest:

Please lay off me in print. (Direct, and to the point.) If I choose to write de profundis sometimes it doesn’t mean I want friends (still friends, then?) praying aloud over my corpse. No doubt you meant it kindly (how could that have been?) but it cost me a night’s sleep. (Only one night: I’m tougher than you think.) And when you incorporate it (the story) in a book would you mind (gently, gently) cutting my name?

It’s a fine story– one of your best–(absolutely true, and under the circumstances insightful and generous) even though the “Poor Scott Fitzgerald etc.” rather (putting it mildly) spoiled it for me.

Ever your friend (despite all)

Scott

Letter from F.Scott Fitzgerald to Ernest Hemingway quoted in, Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship, Scott Donaldson, The Overlook Press, 1999

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