In this content, I will present you the life story of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a famous writer, with whose book, “The Little Prince”, growing generations of children around the world!
Antoine Jean – Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint Exupery was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist and aviator. He was born on June 29, 1900, in Lyon, and died on July 31, 1944, over the Mediterranean Sea.
He became a laureate of several prestigious French literary awards, and won the U.S. National Book Award. He is best remembered for his short story “The Little Prince” and for his aviatorial adventure writings, including “Night Flight” and “Wind, Sand and Stars”.
Exupery was a successful commercial pilot before World War II, operating airlines in Europe, Africa and South America.
After the war broke out, he joined the French Air Force. As soon as he was demobilized from the French air force, he traveled to the United States to persuade the government there to go to war against Nazi Germany.
After a months-long vacation in the United States, during which he wrote the three most important works, he joined the Free French Air Force in North Africa, although he was far above the age limit for such piloting and in poor health.
He disappeared over the North Sea on a reconnaissance mission in July 1944, and has been missing ever since.
Before the war, Exupery achieved fame in France as an aviator. His literary works – among which “The Little Prince” has been translated into three hundred languages – have posthumously strengthened his status as a national hero in France. In 1930, he was awarded the Legion of Honor for services in civil aeronautics.
His philosophical record from 1939, “Land of the People”, and his name became the name of an international humanitarian organization, and he also contributed to the creation of the most successful world fair of the 20th century, “Expo 67” in Montreal.
Childhood and aviation
Exupery was born in Lyon into an aristocratic Catholic family. He was the third of five children of Marie de Fonscolombe (Marie) and Viscount Jean de Saint Exupery (Viscant).
His father, the executive director of insurance mediation, died of a stroke in Lyon at the train station shortly before his son’s fourth birthday. The death of his father affected the whole family, because it significantly impoverished him.
Exupery had three sisters and a younger brother, who died of rheumatic fever at the age of fifteen, while both attended school in Friborg, Switzerland, during the First World War. The images of his brother’s death will be transformed much later into the supreme ending of “The Little Prince”.
At the age of seventeen, as the only man in the family, after the death of his brother, young Exupery was frightened, as were his mother and sisters, but he soon became the protector of the family and its consolation.
As a child, he showed interest and inclination to write, and he also had a desire to one day be a pilot. He was educated at a Catholic boarding school in Switzerland and at a Jesuit school in Le Mans.
After twice missing his final exams at the Preparatory Ship Academy, some believe intentionally, Exupery entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as an auditor for the study of architecture for 15 months, again without a degree, and then accepted unusual jobs.
In 1921, Exupery began his military service and was sent near Strasbourg. He took private flight lessons, and the following year he received an offer to transfer from the French army to the French air force.
He accepted piloting first in Morocco, and later in Paris, where he will experience the first of his many accidents in aviation.
Exupery bowed to the objections of his fiancée’s family, Louise Leveque de Vilmorin, and left the Air Force to take over the office job.
When the couple broke off their engagement, for the next few years he did various jobs without much success, among other things he was an accountant and car salesman, for a while he also worked as a journalist, reporting from Germany and Spain.
By 1926, Exupery was flying again. He became one of the pioneers of international airmail, in the days when airplanes had only a few instruments. He later complained that those who flew in more advanced planes looked more like accountants than pilots.
He worked for the Airport between Toulouse and Dakar, and then became an air carrier for ports in the Spanish zone of Southern Morocco, in the Sahara Desert. His duties included negotiating the safe release of pilots held hostage by Saharan tribes, a dangerous task that earned him a reward from the French government.
In 1929, Exupery was transferred to Argentina, where he became the director of the airline Aeroposta in Argentina. He researched new airlines along South America, negotiated various agreements, and even occasionally flew airmail, as well as performed various missions.
The first novella, “The Aviator”, was published in the literary magazine “Le Navire d’Argent”. In 1929, the first novel “Southern Post” was published, glorifying air traffic – that was when his career as an aviator and journalist was to begin.
He met many famous writers, including Andre Gide, who encouraged him to write.
The publication of the novel “Night Flight” from 1931 founded Exupery as a writer who gained a reputation in the literary world. It was his first work to gain widespread recognition. He received numerous awards for “Night Flight”, including the “Prix Femina”.
Exupery married Consuelo Gomes Carillo, the widow of the writer and artist. Exupery, completely enchanted by his wife, leaves the career of an aviator and returns to it many times – she was his muse and, in the long run, a source of great anxiety.
In the United States, he wrote the widely acclaimed “War Pilot” and “Letter to the Hostage,” in dedication to the 40 million French who lived under Nazi oppression.
Exupery continued to write until the spring of 1943, when he left the United States and went to Africa in World War II.
“The Wisdom of the Sand” is his unfinished work published after his death. While “The Little Prince” is a book for young and old, his most famous work.
One of his most important works in his career was the children’s story for adults “The Little Prince”. The mystical story of a pilot in the desert and his conversation with a young prince from another planet was written and illustrated by Exupery and published in French and English in the USA in 1943, and later in more than 200 other languages.
It is considered one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century and is one of the best books of all time, becoming the subject of numerous adaptations and screen adaptations.
In “The Little Prince”, the author writes in a simple way about tolerance, understanding and relations in the world, expressing a strong faith in the possibility of human transformation. It is a short book written as a fairy tale about the real world, about sins and delusions, about fidelity, love, respect and understanding.
In the introduction, the writer begs the children for forgiveness for dedicating the book to an adult who needs comfort and who is his best friend, and then directed the dedication towards a child who was once an adult. It leads the reader to find a former child deep inside.
Understanding “The Little Prince” as a fairy tale starts from children, while for adults it is a symbol of every person who is born and has life in front of him, while baobab seeds from the book are experiences from childhood, which are kept if they are good, and are erased if they are bad. The writer says that life is only one and that it should not be wasted.
Exupery and his wife never had a stable relationship, because he did not spend most of his time at home. It is believed that she was his muse and inspiration for the prince’s rose.
The little prince in the book protects his rose from disasters, takes care of it, waters it. He meets other roses on his way, which in a figurative sense would be if Exupery meets other women, and the character of the fox reminds him that his rose is special to him. Consuelo’s autobiography entitled “Memoirs of a Rose” supports the opinion about the connection between a wife and a rose.
The little prince has only one friend, and that is the red rose. He left both her and his small planet and set out to discover unknown landscapes and learn something new. Although he loved the rose the most in the world, it was not enough for him. He wanted more.
All the people he met on his way were burdened with themselves and their work, not caring about the world around them, and so they became alienated and lonely. He could not understand the meaninglessness of their work and the absence of love for everything.
It was a world ruled by selfishness and self-intoxication. The little prince realized that a free man can be trapped in a world where he does boring work. He realized that these people could not be his sincere friends, because they were ruled by a spiritual desert.
The only friend on this trip is a fox who teaches him that a man can only see with his heart and that his rose is irreplaceable and not like other roses. That is how the Little Prince got to know himself and the meaning of life.
The novel does not describe the physical appearance of the Little Prince, but Exupery himself illustrated him as a gentle, golden-haired boy, emphasizing his mental characterization. The writer wants people to be as similar as possible to the little prince and to choose the path of responsibility and love. This work has been quoted countless times, inspired many, and even used therapeutically.
Many museums are dedicated to this writer and his imaginary character. “The Little Prince” has undergone many audios and video adaptations, adapted several times for the film. Many ballet performances, operas, musicals and theater performances are inspired by this book.
On December 30, 1935, at 2:45 a.m., after 7:44 p.m., in the air, Exupery, along with his mechanic and navigator Andre Prevot, crashed in an attempt to break the record for the fastest voyage between Saigon and Paris. The Libyan desert. The place of the accident is considered to be near the Nile valley.
Exupery and Prevot miraculously survived the fall, and then faced rapid dehydration in the hot desert. Their maps were ambiguous, so they were disoriented.
Lost among the sand dunes, what they had was grapes, two oranges, a thermos of coffee, chocolate, a handful of crackers and a little wine. They had fluids for one day. Both experienced auditory hallucinations, which were soon followed by vivid hallucinations. By the second and third day, they were so dehydrated that they stopped sweating. On the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel in a random passage saved their lives.
The “Little Prince” begins with a pilot trapped in the desert, partly a reference to this experience.
Residence in Canada and America
After the capitulation of the French army, Exupery arrived in New York on the last day of 1940, with the intention of convincing the United States to quickly enter the conflict against Nazi Germany.
On January 14, 1941, at the Astor Hotel, a lunch attended by about 1,500 people, he received the award of the French Academy of Sciences for “Wind, Sand and Stars”, in which he wrote the most interesting events from his life.
Consuelo arrived in New York a few months later, after migrating to the southern French city of Opeda, where she lived.
Between January 1941 and April 1943, Exupery lived in a two-bedroom penthouse apartment in Central Park, New York, as well as Bevin House Castle on Long Island, New York, and an apartment in Manhattan.
Some researchers believed that during his stay in the United States, Exupery became intimate with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of the famous American aviator Charles Lindbergh.
Ironically, although his intention was to convince the U.S. government of the need to fight fascism, Anna wrote a 41-page booklet, The Wave of the Future, in support of her husband, who lobbied for an American and German peace agreement similar to Stalin’s agreement with Hitler.
Exupery also stayed in Canada for a few weeks during the late spring of 1942, where he met the son of the philosopher Charles De Koninck, an eight-year-old boy with blond curly hair, who would be the inspiration for the “Little Prince” look.
After returning from Canada, he was ill and under stress, then he got the idea to make a children’s book, hoping that he would calm his nerves. Exupery wrote and illustrated “The Little Prince” in New York and the village of Asaroken from mid to late 1942.
The first publication was in early 1943, in English and French in the United States, and only after the liberation of France, it would later appear in his native country.
Back to war
In April 1943, after a 27-month stay in North America, Exupery left with an American military convoy for Algeria, flew with the French Free Air Force and fought with allies in the Mediterranean.
He was soon promoted to the rank of commander-in-chief, far older than most men in operational units. Although he was eight years above the age limit for such pilots, he persistently sought an exemption that was finally granted by General Dwight Eisenhower.
However, Exupery suffered from pain and immobility due to many previous injuries in accidents, to the extent that he could not put on a suit or even lower his head to check on enemy planes.
After a short break, Exupery continued to fly, but also returned to his long-standing habit of reading and writing. He studied literature thoroughly, and read literary works until the moments of takeoff, when the mechanic warmed up and tested the plane for his flight.
On one flight, while his colleagues waited for his arrival, on his return he flew for an hour circling the harbor so he could finish reading the novel. Some of his philosophical writings originated in such periods when he could think of the world below him.
The French general (later French president) Charles de Gaulle (Charles de Gaulle), supported Germany. At that moment Exupery was depressed, he started drinking heavily. In addition, his health, physically and mentally, deteriorated. He was occasionally prone to depression, and there were discussions about relieving him of his career as an aviator.
His last assigned reconnaissance mission, when he joined the Free French Forces, was to gather intelligence on German movements over occupied France.
On July 31, 1944,, he did not return, he dramatically disappeared without a trace somewhere above the Mediterranean. The news of his disappearance soon spread throughout the literary world, and then to world newspaper headlines. The true cause of his death remains unknown.
The remains of his plane were found in 2000, near Marseille and pulled from the seabed in 2003. The serial number on the cockpit of that plane confirmed the authenticity of the extracted wreck, which is now in the museum in Bourges near Paris.
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