Roald Dahl: 10 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know

On this day, 28 years ago we lost one of the world’s most gifted authors. Roald Dahl’s writing is unique and in life, Dahl was just as special. 

Here are 10 interesting things you didn’t know about Roald Dahl:

Originally published on November 5, 2015


1 ) Dahl’s last words were “Ow, fuck!”

2) His son Theo had his skull shattered as an infant in which, he developed hydrocephalus or “water on the brain”. Dahl was so determined to help his son that he helped create the Dahl-Wade-Till valve, which helped relieve the excess cerebrospinal fluid. He was able to help about 3,000 different children with this invention.

3) Dahl was known for being irritable, stubborn and quick to temper yet had a low-key gentleness to him. He had a unique sense of humour and loved to talk and push social boundaries.  He was mesmerizing yet intimidating.

4) While serving with the Royal Air Force in WWII, he suffered a severe accident in which his nose was pushed back into his face and his skull fractured.  He suffered from postconcussive syndrome, symptoms which include pain, fatigue and irritability which plagued him for the rest of his life. The condition is also known to change perceptions. Some of Dahl’s most imaginative pieces were written after his accident, such as James and the Giant Peach.

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5) He had a hut out in his garden in which he did all of his writing in. Within it, he had a chair in which removed the back of to ease the discomfort in his back. He had a total of six surgeries on as a result of his injuries in the war. He also had a steel hip prosthesis decorating this room from a failed hip surgery.

6) He absolutely loved chocolate. He had ball of chocolate wrappers that he kept in his writing hut.

7) During the war, he provided information from Washington for MI6 and worked with Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. 

8) While his children’s work was imaginative, humorous and pleasant, his adult pieces showed a different side. He wrote many short stories for Playboy magazine that depicted just how awful adults are to each other. His stories, discussed sex, adultery and rape.

9) He wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 

10) He was a womanizer. Notoriously unfaithful, his adult stories were an attempt to depict women as “brutal lascivious creatures”.

***


Sturrock, Donald. Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl. Toronto, ON: Mcclelland & Stewart Ltd, 2010. Ebrary.

                Web. 10 Jul. 2014

Interesting Facts about Ernest Hemingway

Love him or hate him, you cannot deny the influence this man has had on literature and beyond.

Originally published on October 29, 2015.


On this day, 57 years ago, Ernest Hemingway passed away.  He was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois and he tragically committed suicide on July 2, 1961. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny the influence this man has had on literature and beyond.  Here are some interesting facts that about Hemingway that you may not have known.

      1. When his favourite bar moved locations, Hemingway took a urinal from the bar to his Key West home because he claimed he had already ‘pissed away’ so much money into the urinal that he practically owned it. He converted it into a garden foundation that still stands today.
      2. Related, Hemingway loved cats. That garden fountain he created from the urinal served as a drinking spot for the ground’s cats. He had a six-toed cat named Snowball and it’s rumoured that the remaining six-toed cats on the grounds today are descendants from Snowball.

“Cat’s were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man. “ – Ernest Hemingwayhemingwaycat

        1. He’s the Chuck Norris of authors. He survived two plane crashes (on consecutive days) a ruptured kidney, skin cancer, hepatitis, anthrax, malaria, diabetes, a ruptured spleen, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull and a ruptured liver in his lifetime. The only thing that could kill Hemingway was himself, which he did with his favourite shotgun that he purchased at Abercrombie and Fitch.
        2. He served in WWI as an ambulance driver. His novel, Farewell to Arms, is a semi-autobiographical account of his time there. He actually wanted to fight as a soldier but was denied due to his bad eye-sight.
        3. For my Canadian readers, in 1919, after returning from WWI, he accepted a job in Toronto and wrote for the Toronto Star.
        4. During his 62 years of life, he was married 4 times and divorced 3 times.
        5. He once examined F. Scott Fitzgerald’s penis after a discussion he had with Zelda Fitzgerald in which she claimed that size of a man’s penis couldn’t make any woman happy. Hemingway reportedly said that Fitzgerald was of ‘normal’ size.
        6. He was a KGB spy. He grew paranoid in his last few years of life and believed that FBI was spying on him. He took the cover name of “Argo”. He didn’t end up being all that helpful to the KGB, but the FBI was indeed watching him, Edgard Hoover personally placed him under surveillance.

Random fact: There is an Ernest Hemingway look-a-like society: http://www.hemingwaylookalikes.com/


Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/ernest-hemingway-9334498

https://huckberry.com/journal/posts/ernest-hemingway-in-key-west

http://www.biography.com/people/ernest-hemingway-9334498#personal-struggles-and-suicide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Hemingway

http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/06/18/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-ernest-hemingway-like-he-was-a-kgb-spy/

http://www.kickassfacts.com/20-kickass-interesting-facts-ernest-hemingway/