Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry was born on June 29, 1900. His family were comfortably off until his father’s untimely death when Saint-Exupéry was young, which left then impoverished. After a series of odd jobs, he entered the army, and while there took flying lessons. This led to him being offered a transfer to the French Air Force. Eventually, he became one of the pioneers of international postal flight, in the days when aircraft had few instruments. He seems to have been born to fly, and we see that image in many of his literary works.

He worked for Aéropostale between Toulouse and Dakar, and then became the airline stopover manager for the Cape Juby airfield in the Spanish zone of South Morocco. Later he was transferred to Argentina, where he was appointed director of the Aeroposta Argentina airline. He surveyed new air routes across South America.

He first published a novella called The Aviator, then in 1929 his second and more widely known book Southern Mail. The 1931 publication of Night Flight established Saint-Exupéry as a rising star in the literary world. It was the first of his major works to gain widespread acclaim and won the prix Femina. The novel mirrored his experiences as a mail pilot and director of the Aeroposta Argentina.

In 1935, he crashed in the Sahara Dessert and barely made it out alive, being rescued by a Bedouin. This incident would serve as the basis of two of his works, one for adults, Wind, Sand, and Stars, and his most famous book, the children’s classic Little Prince.

In July 1944, returned to active duty in World War II, he took off on a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean and never returned. It is presumed he died on the mission.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says about him, “[his] works are the unique testimony of a pilot and a warrior who looked at adventure and danger with a poet’s eyes.” Enotes says he developed “his definitive literary form, a combination of essay, memoir, fable, and prose poem that is difficult to classify.” I only know I love his work and his way with words.

Quotes by Saint-Exupéry

But the conceited man did not hear him. Conceited people never hear anything but praise.

He who would travel happily must travel light.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Love does not consist of gazing at one another, but in looking outward in the same direction.

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

Let your dream devour your life, not your life devour your dream.

Every person that comes into our life comes for a reason; some come to learn and others come to teach.

The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.

All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

Real love begins where nothing is expected in return.

The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.

I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.

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