Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Antoine Jean-Baptiste Marie Roger de Saint-Exupery (29 June 1900, Lyon - July 31 flight disappeared in 1944) was a French writer and aviator. It is commonly known as Saint-Ex.

Youth and Education
Son of Viscount Jean de Saint-Exupery, insurance inspector, and Mary Boyer of Fonscolombe, Saint-Exupery was born in 1900 in Lyon in a family after the French nobility. He shared a happy childhood among five siblings. But in 1904, his father died accidentally crushed by a train, leaving Marie de Saint-Exupery only educate his five children (Mary Magdalene, called "Biche", Simone, known as "Monot," Anthony said "Tonio", Francis and Gabrielle, known as "Didi"). Children play much, make charades, small amount of plays, playing music (piano and violin), Antoine Didi and draw and paint, Biche, Anthony Simone and write and write a small newspaper.

The mother of Antoine de Saint-Exupery lives more or less what premature widowhood, his natural optimism allows it to meet its obligations. In a sensitivity to flower skin, it will forge ties with Antoine, and provide an excellent education, giving every moment to the best of itself. It will transmit to his son loved the values that Saint-Exupery retain all his life: honesty, respect for others, no social exclusivity. She is an exceptional woman who devoted her life to her children, with a humanism that Saint-Exupery nurture throughout his travels.

Until the age of ten, he spent his childhood between the castle of the Mole (Var), owned by his maternal grandmother and the castle of Saint-Maurice-de-Remen (Ain), owned by the an aunt. In 1909, his family settled in Le Mans, region of origin of his father.

In 1912, Antoine spends the summer holidays in Saint-Maurice-de-Remen. He is fascinated by the new aerodrome Amberieu-en-Bugey, located a few kilometers to the east. Antoine goes there by bike and rest hours interviewing mechanics in the operation of aircraft. One day he is for the pilot Gabriel Salve claiming that his mother was allowed to make a first flight. It is therefore his baptism on a Bertaud-Wroblewski, aircraft manufactured by the company Villeurbanne Lyon Berthaud on plans of Peter Gabriel and Wroblewski. It is the young Gabriel himself, who piloted the plane. Excited, he wrote a poem reflecting his new passion for airplanes:

The wings shudder under the breath of evening
The engine of his soul singing rocking asleep
The sun we neared its pale color.

Saint-Exupery and passes most of his childhood in the family castle, surrounded by his brothers and sisters. It will be recalled that period as the lost paradise, "the most beautiful moments of his life he would say later. As against, he does not like many college Sainte-Croix du Mans where he is resident. His comrades, who nickname Tatan, collaborate, however the newspaper class created at his initiative, which will then be prohibited by the Fathers.

At the school in 1915, Mary, who recently established a clinic in Amberieu-en-Bugey, anxious to protect his son and give them an education that enables them to develop their gifts (in June 1914 Antoine won the prize for narration for one of its editors), registered with the Marianist brothers of the Villa St. John in Freiburg, Switzerland. Closely with the College Stanislas in Paris, the college has developed a method of modern education that allows them to exercise their creativity. Includes Antoine Louis de Bonnevie, whose family is a neighbor and friend of hers in Lyon. It will build with him and with Marc and Charles Hall Sabran a deep friendship and lasting.

In 1917 he received his bachelor's degree, but during the summer drama will be shattered this rosy picture. Suffering martyrdom because of joint pain, Francis, the younger brother, the companion game, dies of a pericarditis. That's all a part of life that Antoine collapses. In an instant, it goes from adolescent to adult. Ten years later, tuberculosis carries her sister Mary Magdalene.

The war also inspired 14-18, he made caricatures of Prussian soldiers and their helmets peak, the emperor and the Kronprinz. He wrote a few poems:

Sometimes confused with a radius lunar
A soldier stands out on the banked water;
He dreams to his love, he dreams at its twenty years!

Spring war
In 1919, it fails the assistance of the Naval School (his results in the sciences are very good, but inadequate literary branches) and is free as an auditor in the department of architecture at the Ecole Nationale Superieure of Fine Arts. His mother aid as it may, despite his worries of money. Antoine benefit from the hospitality of his cousin Yvonne de Lestrange and accepts several odd jobs: with his friend Henry de Segogne, it will be contained for several weeks in Quo Vadis, an opera by Jean Nogues. In 1918, he became acquainted with Louise de Vilmorin, which inspires romantic poems.

I remember you as clear a home
Nearly whom I lived for hours without saying anything
Same old tired hunters the great outdoors
Who tisonnent while their white dog breath.

In my friend

However, during this period his poetic activity inspires him rather melancholy poems, the sonnets and quatrains suites (Vigil, 1921) but showing that it is experiencing a difficult period because there is no plan for life without prospect of future. Some of his poems are illuminated calligraphy and drawings in ink. It offers two of his books of poetry to his friend John Doat.

In aviation
In April 1921, he was assigned to his military service as a mechanic at the 2nd Aviation Regiment of Strasbourg. He took flying lessons at its own expense, but at the end of July, only to commands from his trainer, it arises just as the aircraft was in flames. This serious incident nevertheless helps reveal his poise and control. However, Antoine de Saint-Exupery will be remembered for aviator sometimes distracted, sometimes forgetting to return his gear, sometimes connecting its instruments, was lost in the vastness of the sky. The nickname of "Pique the Moon" and it remained not only because of his nose trumpet but a certain tendency to withdraw into his inner world. Beginning in August 1921, he was assigned to the 37th Aviation Regiment in Casablanca. There he obtained his patent civilian. During his spare time, he excels at sketch of his buddies in pencil chambree coal mine in ink and turquoise. His drawings are grouped in his book Les Copains.

In January 1922, it was as a student at Istres reserve officer. It is received military pilot and promoted corporal. In October, reserve lieutenant, he chose his assignment to the 34th Aviation Regiment, at Le Bourget. In spring 1923, he has his first plane crash at Le Bourget: fracture of the skull. After this serious accident, he is demobilized. Yet, Saint Exupery is still planning to enter the Air Force, as it encourages the General Bares. But the family of Louise de Vilmorin, his fiancée, opposes it. Starts for him a long period of boredom: he finds himself in an office as controller of manufacturing Counter Tile, a subsidiary of Societe Generale d'Entreprise. In September, the breakdown of engagement with Louise.

In 1924, Saint-Exupery works in the Allier and the Creuse as representative of Saurer plant which manufactures trucks (they do sell one and a half years!). It is a rather sad time for him to be driving console as often as possible. In 1924 he began as a work of prose, probably Manon, dancer. In 1925, his poem entitled The Moon shows a bizarre inspiration. It may also include the following poetic Farewell:

It is midnight - I walk
And I hesitate shocked
What is this pale chimpanzee
Dancing in the fountain?

Moon, 1925

In 1926 he was hired by Didier Daurat, chief operating lines of the company Latecoere (future Aeropostale) and joined the airport of Toulouse-Montaudran, for the first carriage of mail on flights between Toulouse and Dakar (Senegal) when he wrote his first book, The Aviator and publish it in the journal Adrienne Monnier, the ship money where his friend works Jean Prevost. In Toulouse, he met Jean Mermoz and Henri Guillaumet. After two months, he is responsible for its first convoy of Alicante mail on it between now in the legend of Aeropostale.

End 1927, he was appointed head of call to Cap Juby in Morocco with the aim of improving relations with the company dissidents Moors on the one hand and with the Spaniards on the other. There will discover the hot desert of solitude, after a forced landing he met a community of Trappist monks; he recounts this experience in Terre des hommes: "The wind, sand and stars. The austere life of Trappist. But on this tablecloth poorly lit, six or seven men, who did nothing in the world except their memories, shared an invisible wealth ". In 1929 he published by Gallimard his first novel south Courier in which he recounts his own life and emotions of its own pilot.

In September 1929, he joined Guillaumet Mermoz and South America to help develop Aeropostale to Patagonia. In 1930, he uses the library of his friend Paul Dony to commit various sonnets inspired by other poets but are as much exercises poetic virtuosity. In 1931 he published his second novel Night Flight, a huge success, in which he discusses his years in Argentina and development lines to Patagonia. In 1931, always, he married in Agay with Consuelo Gomez Suncin Sandoval (d. 1979), both Salvadoran writer and artist.

From 1932, when the company, undermined by politics, does not survive its integration into Air France, it remains difficult, devoted to writing and journalism. Saint-Exupery remains pilot and test pilot raid at the same time he became a journalist used for large reports.

Reporter for Paris-Soir, he traveled to Vietnam in 1934 and Moscow in 1935. In December 1935, Saint-Ex is attempting a raid Paris-Saigon but was forced to ask his plane crash, a Caudron Simoun in the Desert, Egypt. He left for Spain in 1936. Of all these trips, it accumulates a large amount of memories, emotions and experiences, which it uses to feed his reflection on the meaning of the human condition. His thinking leads to the writing of Terre des Hommes, which is published in 1939, written in beautiful prose, the book was awarded the prize of the French Academy. It is in this novel has the famous phrase: "What I did, I swear, never any beast would have done."

War of 1939-1945
In 1939, he was briefly reinstated to the Air Force where he conducts aerial reconnaissance. On 23 May 1940, he flew over Arras while the German Panzers invade the city. Then he left France for New York with the aim of bringing warring Americans. Pétain as cataloged by some, Gaullist by others, it was difficult to hear his voice, in fact at the very beginning, as the vast majority of French, it was rather favorable to Vichy, which seemed to represent the continuity of State, and was rather suspicious of General de Gaulle. Indeed he has tried to reconcile the opposing factions; during his radio call of 29 November 1942 from New York, he runs: "French, reconciled us to serve, but he was misunderstood, because it was too late and time was the confrontation general. However, according to recently opened archives American it seems that the U.S. secret services have considered the possibility of pushing instead of General de Gaulle.

End 1942, he resided in Canada through the family De Koninck in Old Quebec, but he did engage in that action, whereas, as was the case with Aeropostale, that only those involved in events are legitimate to testify. In April 1943, the Commander of Saint-Exupery resumed active service in aviation ally in Tunisia. He made some reconnaissance missions, but is a victim of several incidents, which are put "in reserve command," given his age, poor general health, its previous crashes. It then stays in Algeria, Morocco, and then again in Algeria, where he graduated in spring 1944 authorization of the Commander in Chief Air Mediterranean, the U.S. General Eaker, joining the prestigious group 2 / 33 based in Alghero , Sardinia. He makes several flights, enamelled failures and incidents. On 17 July 1944, 2 / 33 moves in Borgo, near Bastia in Corsica. This is Poretta airport near Saint-Ex off at the controls of his F-5B-1-LO, twin-engine version of the photo P-38 Lightning, July 31 1944 at 8: 25 am in the morning for a mission Mapping (cap on the Rhone Valley, headed by return Annecy and Provence): photographic recognition to draw accurate maps of the country, useful in any future landing in Provence (scheduled for 15 August 1944). It is only on board his plane was unarmed and carries with it the fuel for six hours. At 8 am 30, was reported last radar. His plane would have crashed a few cables off the coast of Provence. It is impossible to conduct field research in wartime, Saint-Ex is officially missing. His memory is celebrated solemnly in Strasbourg on July 31 in 1945 and 1948, it is "Death to France".

The mystery of his death
On 12 March 1950 in the Official Gazette, the commander Antoine de Saint Exupery is cited in the order of the army air posthumously, for having "shown in 1940 as in 1943, his passion to serve and his belief in fate of the Motherland ", and" found a glorious death on 31 July 1944, after returning from a reconnaissance mission on its distant countries occupied by the enemy. "

If the death was longer in doubt, was to elucidate the circumstances. In 1950, a pastor of Aachen, a former intelligence officer in the Luftwaffe, testified that he learned on 31 July 1944, a P-38 Lightning was shot in the Mediterranean by a German Focke-Wulf. Then in 1972, arises testimony (posthumously) of a certain aspirant Heichele, reportedly fired on the Lightning since his aircraft, around noon, above Castellane. But Heichele was in turn shot dead in August 1944. Another witness arises late (in 1990), about a resident of Carqueiranne which would have seen the fateful day, the Lightning are slaughtered. The sea would then dismissed the body of a soldier on the beach, which was buried anonymously in the cemetery of the town. Was this Saint-Exupery? To find out, it would exhume the body, make comparisons with the DNA of family members who were in opposition. Each time, these "revelations" relancerent the interests of both specialists and the general public for the "mystery Saint-Ex". There was even a passionate Alsatian who tried to prove that the writer had not aviator disappeared in the Mediterranean, but that his aircraft crashed in the Alps. Finally, in 2000, pieces of his aircraft, landing gear, a piece of propeller, elements of cabin and chassis especially, are found in the Mediterranean off Marseilles. On 7 September 1998, a fisherman had already found its curb in its trawl, near the island of Riou. Brought to the surface in September 2003, they are formally identified on 7 April 2004 through its serial number. The remains of the Lightning are exposed to the Museum of Air and Space Bourget, in a space devoted to the writer aviator.

But there is no reason to give a final conclusion on the circumstances of his death, despite a computer simulation of the accident - from deformed parts - which shows a dive, almost vertical and high-speed in the water. .. Was it the result of yet another technical failure, a Malaysian driver? Some even argued, to the great scandal of his relatives, the hypothesis of suicide of a Saint-Exupery down physically (it can not only close the canopy of the aircraft), despair around the world saw it coming thesis supported by some of his later writings, frankly pessimistic tone, for example the last lines of a letter addressed to Peter Dalloz, written the day before his death: "If I went down, I do not miss anything. The termite m'epouvante future. And I hate under their robots. I was meant to be gardener. "

In March 2008, a former Luftwaffe pilot on Messerschmitt Bf 109, Horst Rippert, says in the newspaper La Provence have shot down a plane type P-38 Lightning July 31 1944 in the area where Saint-Exupery was. Mission to find enemy aircraft overflying the region of Annecy, Horst Rippert runs several minutes above the Mediterranean without detection. Suddenly, a plane ally crosses 3,000 meters below him. Horst Rippert tire and key. The aircraft ignites and steep falls in the Mediterranean. Saint-Exupery is missing that day giving rise to the mystery of his disappearance. "If I had known it was Saint-Exupery, one of my favorite authors, I would not have shot," said Horst Rippert. After the war Horst Rippert, brother of Ivan Rebroff (who died in February 2008 shortly before this revelation) is converted into journalism and heads the sports department of ZDF.

His work
If it is not quite autobiographical, his work is largely inspired by his life as a pilot aviation, except for Le Petit Prince (1943) - probably his most popular success (it has since sold more than 80 million copies around the world) - which is quite a tale poetic and philosophical.

He wrote other, equally known. One could cite South Courier (1929), Vol Night (1931), Terre des Hommes (1939), War Pilot (1942), Letter to a hostage (1944), Writings of War (collected in 1982) and Citadel ( posthumously, 1948). All his novels tell the story of his travels in making fiction and creating fantasy.

The Aviator

Published in 1926. The first edited text of Saint Exupery, fragment it seems a wider, and to serve as material for Courier south.

Courier south

Published in 1929. Through the character of "Jacques Bernis," Saint-Ex tells his own life and emotions of its own pilot. Louise de Vilmorin is campee in the character of "Genevieve".

Night Flight

Published in December 1931. This work that reaches at the examination of the tragedy, is prefaced by his friend Andre Gide, won the Prix Femina in Antoine de Saint Exupery and dedicated as a man of letters. This book was a huge success and has undergone multiple translations. Its film adaptation was even sold to Hollywood.

The main character, "River" is inspired by its leader Didier Daurat. It gives life to a leader who can push his men after themselves for the accomplishment of their mission: the mail must go at any price, the mission exceeds the value of human life. The values that the novel vehicle are: primacy of the mission, the importance of duty and responsibility of the task until sacrifice.

Terre des Hommes

Published in December 1939. He received the Grand Prize of the novel of the French Academy.
This is a series of stories, testimonies and meditations from the sum of experiences, emotions and memories he has accumulated during his many travels. It is also a tribute to friendship and friends Mermoz and Guillaumet and more widely a romantic view on the nobility of humanism.

Pilot war

Published in 1942.

Letter to a hostage

Published in 1944.

Le Petit Prince

Published in 1943 in New York (in 1945 in France), wrote to Eaton's Neck (Northport, USA). For technical reasons, "watercolors by the author" reproduced in French versions that followed were mere retramages of the U.S. edition, which induced a loss of quality sensitive. In addition, some designs had been modified so minor. The Folio edition was published recently apparently the first to provide illustrations in accordance with the original edition, much better technical and artistic despite a smaller format (printing techniques have also made progress since 1943).


Published in 1948. Begun in 1936, this work was not completed by Saint Exupery. Published in a first version in 1948 from a typed text, it did not incorporate in the mind of the author. The entire manuscript was made available to publishers in 1958 and helped to marry his intentions.

"Citadel is not a work completed. In the mind of the author it should be lean and rebuilt according to a rigorous, at present, can be restored easily. The author has often repeated the same themes, either to express more precisely, is to shed light on one of his images he has the secret "(Simone de Saint Exupery).

Letters of Youth (1923-1931)

Published in 1953. New edition in 1976 under the title "Letters of Youth to the friend invented."


Published in 1953. Edition in 1975. Set of notes held from 1935 to 1940 on an agenda and five notebooks. Very eclectic, it reflects the interests and curiosities of the writer in science, religion, literature and gives rise to thoughts of aphorisms and relevant.

Letters to his mother

Published in 1955. Collection of correspondence to Saint Exupery with his mother covering the period 1910 - 1944.

Writings of War (1939-1944)

Published in 1982. This posthumous collection is prefaced by Raymond Aron.

Manon, dancer

Published in 2007. Short novel completed in 1925. It is the love story between a "chicken" Manon, and a man of forty years "serious", sad, seeking meaning in his life. Upon meeting, is forging a relationship between love, man tenderly protecting his "poor little girl," he believes dancer. They make love without passion. Leave on a trip by car. But he learned one day by three of its customers that Manon is a prostitute. They break and then review. Manon flows under the wheels of a truck and lack die. It will remain flawed.

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