Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince
I think that the story of Lyonnais Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is an interesting one. Anyone who has flown to Lyon in recent years will recognise Saint-Exupéry as the name of the airport, which gives some indication as to what he did ! Yes, a pilot – an airmail pioneer with La Poste in the 20s and 30s (I don’t know the exact company name!) then with l’Armée de l’Air during WW2.
He was also a writer and poet, and in this field is best known for his book Le Petit Prince which is , according to my Civilisation professor, the third most translated book in the world (after the Bible and Das Kapital). It looks like a children’s book but is apparently quite philosophic. Other successful works include Vol de Nuit (Night Flight – 1931) and Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars – 1939).
Saint-Exupéry mysteriously disappeared over the Mediterranean in 1944, whilst on a mission to check out German troop movemets in the Rhône Valley. A body washed up near Marseille days later, wearing a French uniform, but was never identified. An identity bracelet, and aeroplane remains were found too – nearly 60 years later ! It’s generally assumed that the body was that of Saint-Exupéry but it’s unknown whether he crashed or was shot down – both theories have been claimed by witnesses and/or German soldiers. Whatever the truth is, he remains a much-loved national hero.
PS. Guess what I found for 50 cents at a vide grenier last weekend ?