Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(1900 – 1944)

Antoine de Saint-ExupéryBiographical Sketch

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry (Lyon, France, June 29, 1900 – offshore, south of Marseille, France, July 31, 1944 [presumed]), was a French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes) and Night Flight (Vol de nuit).

Saint-Exupéry was a successful commercial pilot before World War II, working airmail routes in Europe, Africa and South America. At the outbreak of war, he joined the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force), flying reconnaissance missions until France’s armistice with Germany in 1940. After being demobilised from the French Air Force, he travelled to the United States to persuade its government to enter the war against Nazi Germany. Following a 27-month hiatus in North America, during which he wrote three of his most important works, he joined the Free French Air Force in North Africa, although he was far past the maximum age for such pilots and in declining health. He disappeared over the Mediterranean on his last assigned reconnaissance mission in July 1944, and is believed to have died at that time.

Prior to the war, Saint-Exupéry had achieved fame in France as an aviator. His literary works, among them The Little Prince, translated into over 250 languages and dialects, propelled his stature posthumously allowing him to achieve national hero status in France. He earned further widespread recognition with international translations of his other works. His 1939 philosophical memoir Terre des hommes (English title: Wind, Sand and Stars) became the name of a major international humanitarian group, and was also used to create the central theme (Terre des hommes – Man and His World) of the most successful world’s fair of the 20th century, Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada.

Read more about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on Wikipedia.

 

Major Awards and Honors

Académie Française
  • 1939: Grand Prix du Roman – “Terre des hommes”
    (“Wind, Sand and Stars”)
Prix Femina (France)
  • 1931: “Vol de nuit”
    (“Night Flight”)
National Book Awards (USA)
  • 1939: Non-Fiction – “Terre des hommes”
    (“Wind, Sand and Stars”)

 

Bibliography

Novels
  • Courrier Sud (1929)
    (Southern Mail)
    – Movie adaptation 1936.
  • Vol de Nuit (1931)
    (Night Flight)
    – Movie adaptation 1933.
  • Terre des Hommes (1938)
    (Wind, Sand and Stars)
  • Pilote de Guerre (1942)
    (Flight to Arras)
  • Le Petit Prince (1943)
    (The Little Prince)
  • Oeuvres Complètes (1950)
  • Oeuvres (1953)
  • Saint-Exupéry : Oeuvres Complètes (1994 – 1999)
Screenplays and Documentaries
  • Anne Marie (1935)
  • Week-end à Alger (1935)
  • Atlantique Sud (1936)
  • Le Raid Manqué Paris-Saigon (1936)
    – Unrealized project.
  • Igor (1940)
    – Unrealized project.
  • Terre des Hommes (1941)
    – With Jean Renoir; unrealized project.
  • Sonia
    – Undated and unrealized project.
  • Un Avion s’est Égaré
    – Undated and unrealized project.
Essays, Manuscripts, Correspondence, Memoirs
  • Écrits de Guerre (1939 – 1944)
    (Wartime Writings)
    – Published posthumously in 1982.
  • Lettre à un Otage (1943)
    (Letter to a Hostage)
  • Citadelle (1948)
    (The Wisdom of the Sands)
  • Lettres de Jeunesse, 1923 – 1931 (1953)
  • Carnets (1953)
  • Lettres à sa Mère (1955)
  • Un Sens à la Vie (1956)
  • Pages Choisies (1962)
  • Lettres de Saint-Exupéry (1960)
  • Lettres aux Américains (1960)
  • Cher Jean Renoir (1999)
  • A Guide for Grown-Ups: Essential Wisdom from the Works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (2002)

 

A Selection of Quotes

The Little Prince

“Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy ready-made things in the shops. But since there are no shops where you can buy friends, men no longer have any friends.”

“Quand on a terminé sa toilette du matin, il faut faire soigneusement la toilette de la planète.”

“And the little prince broke into a lovely peal of laughter, which irritated me very much. I like my misfortunes to be taken seriously.”

“C’est tellement mystérieux, le pays des larmes.”

“For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it’s not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble to produce thorns that are good for nothing? It’s not important, the war between the sheep and the flowers? It’s no more serious and more important than the numbers that fat red gentleman is adding up? Suppose I happen to know a unique flower, one that exists nowhere in the world except on my planet, one that a little sheep can wipe out in a single bite one morning, just like that, without even realizing what he’d doing – that isn’t important? If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself ‘My flower’s up there somewhere …’ But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?”

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her … I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her …”

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty … One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”

Find more quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on Wikiquote and Goodreads.

 

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