Few literary works in the world can afford to have been translated into 250 languages, including several indigenous languages. The Little Prince is one of the few who has achieved it. The author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, embodied in it an allegory of his philosophy of life and part of his adventures.
The little prince was not the only work of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, but the most successful. Many do not know whether to classify it as a work for children or for adults. It has precisely that charm: it can be read from multiple points of view.
“The whole world departs when it sees a man who knows where he is going.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry-
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a sensitive and wonderful writer, but also a great adventurer. A lover of aviation and travel, seductive and intellectually vivid. He loved the challenges and a couple of times he was in danger of death because of his passion for the challenge.
A happy child
Antoine was the son of Count Jean de Saint-Exupéry, an insurance expert. His mother was Marie de Fronscolombe, a loving woman of great artistic sensitivity. The writer and aviator was born on June 29, 1900, on the island of Riou (France).
The family was, of course, very well off. Antoine had four brothers: three girls and one boy. He was the third. His only male brother died of rheumatic fever when he was only 15 years old. The scene and the effect of that death were captured in The Little Prince.
The father of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry died when he was 9 years old. Since then, his family settled in the castle of an aunt. Little Antoine, despite everything, had a happy childhood. The family was very affectionate and he adored his mother.
Architect, aviator and writer
Antoine wanted to enter the university, but he did not pass the exam. So he decided to enroll in a school of Fine Arts to study architecture. In 1921 he served in the military and there he fell in love with aviation.
Between 1922 and 1926, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry performed various trades, as a representative of a trucking company and inspector of a brick factory. Finally, in 1926 he started working as a commercial pilot at Aeropostale and published his first story: The Aviator.
In 1928 he was appointed representative of Aeropostale for Argentina and moved to that country. There he met the Salvadoran writer and artist Consuelo Carrillo. They were introduced by a mutual friend and it was one of those cases of love at first sight. Then, the company went bankrupt in South America. Then Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, together with Consuelo, went to France and married in 1931.
His relationship with Consuelo began to turn stormy. The marriage lasted 15 years, between separations and successive reconciliations. Both he and she rated the relationship as intense and unstable.
What most affected the marriage were the successive infidelities of Antoine. However, it is clear that Consuelo was the great love of his life. The character of the rose, in The Little Prince, is dedicated to her.
An adventurer, a dreamer
In 1935, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his friend André Prevot tried to make an aviation record, flying in record time from Paris to Saigon. However, the plane presented faults and had to land emergency in the Libyan desert. There they were at the mercy of chance. On the fourth day they were helped by a Bedouin.
That experience in the desert is narrated allegorically in The Little Prince. Later, in 1938, he also wanted to make a flight record, this time between New York and Tierra del Fuego. He had an accident in Guatemala and was about to die. This inspired the work Earth of men.
With the Second World War, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry decided to enlist to fight against the Nazis. When the Germans invaded France, he emigrated to the United States. There he wrote Piloto de guerra and The Little Prince, in 1943. He then joined the French resistance.
The clandestine resistance commissioned a secret operation for the French coast. He set out to meet it on July 31, 1944.