Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Writer who Emerged from Heaven

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Today marks the 75th anniversary of the death of the famous author of “The Little Prince“.

On July 31, 1944, Antoine Saint-Exupéry took off from the island of Corsica aboard a Lockheed Lightning P-38 to photograph enemy positions east of his native Lyon.

It was a reconnaissance flight in the final section of World War II, and he was also an experienced pilot, but it was never known: his plane was lost in the Mediterranean, near the coast of Marseille.

After several theories about the mysterious disappearance (his body has not been found, although his aircraft was), the German pilot Horst Rippert recognized in 2008 in a French newspaper that he was the author of the shots that shot down the plane.

He himself had seen the aircraft fall into the water, although he did not know what would have happened to who was inside and said that “if he had known it was Saint-Exupéry, he would not have shot down that plane.”

But he did and became the sad end point at age 44 – the first of the twentieth century – of the lesser known author than his “Little Prince.” The fame of his work increased after his death and today is the most read and translated book in French .

There are more than 250 languages ​​in which it is possible to read the work, and it is also in the Braille system. The last to join the list is just a few days, an edition in Mallorcan.

The success of “The Little Prince” has eclipsed not only the rest of his work, but also other of the many facets he played throughout his life, such as inventor, magician with letters or journalist.

During the 30s of last century Saint-Exupéry collaborated with the French press of the time and was sent as a reporter to some of the main stages of his time, such as the Spanish Civil War.

“He did it because of the economic difficulties he was going through in a few years in which he could not live from what were his two main occupations as a pilot and writer, without it being the vocation that led him to journalism,” says Montse Morata, a doctor in Journalism by the Complutense University of Madrid and expert in Saint-Exupéry.

In our contest he was twice. The first of them in Barcelona and the front of Lleida in the summer of 1936, and the second in Madrid, where, in April 1937, he lived with the militiamen in the trenches of Carabanchel.

From those experiences came some reports with a humanistic vision away from ideologies that, however, did not come out for free. Later the Franco regime denied him a visa to cross Spain to Portugal, heading for his exile in New York during World War II.

Aviation was another of his passions and a source of inspiration for his works. In 1926 he published his first short novel “The Aviator” and won a contract as a line pilot for an aviation company.

From that moment on, each of his experiences would be reflected in his works, such as the plane crash in the Sahara desert that inspired his work “Land of Men” and won numerous awards in France and the United States.

He also wrote “War Pilot” (1942) or “Letter to a Hostage,” among other works. In New York he devoted part of his life to a literary retreat in which he wrote “The Little Prince” in 1943.


Source: ABC