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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (June 29, 1900 July 31, 1944) was a French writer and aviator, born in Lyon.

Saint-Exupéry was one of the pioneers of international postal flights, an aviator in the days when aircraft had few instruments and flying was done "by the seat of the pants". Later he complained that those who flew the more advanced aircraft were more like accountants than pilots.

He first worked on the Aéropostale[?] between Toulouse, France and Dakar, Senegal, while writing his first book, L'Aviateur (The Aviator). In 1928, he published Courrier-Sud and flew the route between Casablanca and Dakar. In 1931, Vol de Nuit (Night Flight), which received the Prix Femina[?], was published. He kept writing and flying (in Africa and South America) until the beginning of the war.

During World War II, he would escape to City of New York, but would soon come back to fight with the Allied forces, in a squadron based in the Mediterranean area. At 43 years old, he was about to quit flying, but his F-5 reconnaissance aircraft crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on what should have been his last mission.

If not always autobiographical, his work is greatly inspired by his experience as a pilot on the postal flights. An exception is Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), his most famous book, a poetic illustrated tale in which he imagined himself to be stranded in the desert where he met The Little Prince, a young boy from a tiny asteroid. In many ways The Little Prince is a philosophical story, with emphasis on criticising society and the adult world. Saint-Exupéry got a new asteroid (#2578) named after him in 1975, in recognition of his worldwide fame.



  • Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away. (La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien à ajouter, mais quand il ne reste rien à enlever.)

  • Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

  • Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. (It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.)

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