We all know who is the little prince and what happened to him. But not so many of us are familiar with some crazy facts regarding the life of the man who wrote this masterpiece. Here are some crazy things about Antoine de Saint-Exupery you probably didn’t know:
Antoine Was Irresponsible Flyer
We all know that Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a mail pilot and army scout. But he was also one very irresponsible flyer. First and foremost, while on the plane, he would often write his thoughts on paper. His cockpit would always be full of crumpled pieces of paper with his thoughts. Besides writing he used to read during his flights as well. Sometimes, he would even refuse to land the plane until he would finish his novel. He also didn’t like the advancement of aircraft. As flying technology got more and more sophisticated Antoine said that soon, there won’t be any difference between a pilot and an accountant.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery Was Nobleman
Antoine de Saint Exupery was born in Lyon, France on 29th June 1900 to viscount Jean de Saint-Exupery and viscountess Marie de Fonscolombe. The linage of his family can be traced several centuries into the past and ultimately goes back to the 5th-century bishop of Toulouse called Saint Exuperius. His father, an executive in the insurance company “The Sun” died of a heart attack in the train station of Lyon before Antoine was 4 and the family was lowered to the status of impoverished aristocrats.
The Writer Of Little Prince Failed At School
Antoine de Saint-Exupery tried entering Naval Academy twice both did not pass preparatory exams. He then went to study architecture as an auditor for 15 months but did not graduate. To be more precise, In academia, an audit implies completion of a course of study for which no assessment of the performance of the student is made nor grade awarded. It was then that he went to the army and became a basic rang soldier in the second regiment of light cavalry. He was taking flight lessons privately and eventually became a pilot.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery Was a Negotiator
In 1926 Antoine became stopover manager for Cape Juby airfield in the Spanish zone of south Morocco within the Sahara desert. Besides many other things, it was in the scope of his job to negotiate the release of the pilots with Saharian tribes who often shot and brought down the planes flying above. Nis negotiations earned him the medal of honor from the French state.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery Survived Multiple Plane Crashes
Antoine de Saint-Exupery shared one common thing with Ernest-Hemingway and that was surviving multiple plane crashes. The first plane crash that happened to Exupery took place a little after he started flying. He got his wings in Casablanca, Morocco when he was reposted to the 37th fighter regiment. He was soon reposted to the 34th Aviation Regiment at the outskirts of Paris where he experienced his first aircraft crash. Another crash happened on 30 December 1935. Accompanied by his mechanic-navigator Andre Prevot Antoine attempted to break the speed record on Paris-to-Saigon air race and win the prize of 150 francis. The place of the crash was probably somewhere in Wadi El Natrun valley close to the Nile Delta. After four days, when they were on the brink of death, a Bedouin on camel stumbled upon them and saved them. The third Aircrash took place in 1943. Antoine de Saint Exupery got back to war and have departed with the U.S. military convoy headed to Algiers to fly with Free French Air Force and fight with the Allies in a Mediterranean-based squadron. He was given a P38 Lightning which was different than Bloch MB.174 he go used to. It was more sophisticated and Exupery wasn’t good with it. On his second mission, his plane crashed due to engine failure which resulted in him being grounded and unable to fly for eight months. His last plane crash happened on July 31st, 1944 when he flew on a reconnaissance mission to gather intelligence on the Nazi troops around Rhone valley. He vanished without a trace.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery Exile
After France surrendered to Germany on 22nd June 1940 Exupery escaped to Portugal from where he went to the U.S. with an intention of persuading the government to enter the conflict against Nazis. He spent 27 months in North America before returning to fly and fight against Nazis.
Did Sant-Exupery Collaborate With Nazis?
At some point in time, there were even rumors that Saint-Exupery supported Nazis. French general Charles de Gaulle who later became the president of France claimed that Exupery is secretly collaborating with Nazis. This made the writer very depressed and resulted in his increased drinking. Exupery did, after all, leave to the United States with an intention to help to persuade the government to enter the conflict against Nazis. Some even believe that these accusations were the trigger for him to commit suicide on his light flight and wreck himself into the sea.
Saint-Exupery And The Little Prince
Saint-Exupery started writing the Little Prince sometime around the early summer of 1942. He spent few weeks in Quebec but could not either rest or find peace. When he came back to America the French wife from one of his publishers persuaded him to write the book for children. She claimed the writing was going to bring him peace, but the main goal was to make a competition for Mary Poppins. Saint-Exupery both wrote and made drawings for the Little Prince all by himself. Inspiration for characters he found in real life. Poodle inspired a sheep while his wife was his muse for rose.
The novel that gave Exupery the foundations to become a widely famous writer was Night Flight. The book won him the prize Prix Femina and turned Antoine into the rising star. It happened in 1931. The novel was inspired by his experiences while he was a mail pilot and director at Aeroposta Arentina airline positioned in Buenos Aires.
Did Antoine de Saint-Exupery Kill Himself?
This question is very hard to answer. It is because Antoine was very depressed and had increased his drinking around the time of his last flight. One of the reasons for his depression was the bulk of accusations by Charles de Gaulle who claimed the writer is collaborating with Nazis. However, it was not only that. His health was in terrible condition as well. Due to all of his plane crashes he was not able to dress his pilot jacket by himself or even turn to the left side and look for enemy aircraft. Both of these circumstances were the cause for overdrinking that even led his superiors to consider removing him from flying. In addition to this, his book, the Little Prince ends with suicide. At least that’s how most people interpret it. Little Prince allows the snake to bite him so he can leave his heavy body and return to where he came from. Here, the main thing to question is the writer’s psychological state. The book is very sad and easily brings readers to tears on more than one occasion. It is assumed that such a book could only be written by a person prone to suicide.