Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born a nobleman in Lyon, France, the son of Count Jean de Saint-Exupery and his wife, Marie de Foscolombe. He attended a preparatory school, where he unfortunately failed to pass his final exams; however, he did continue his education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the study of architecture. De Saint-Exupery began his flight career in 1921, when he entered military service for the Second Regiment of Chasseurs. Although he was a licensed pilot within a year, with the opportunity of joining the air force, he settled for office work in Paris, due to the wishes of his then-fiancee. De Saint-Exupery toiled unsuccessfully at vaious jobs, despite the termination of the engagement. His life as a pilot "took off" again in 1926, this time for good. His prowess made him a pioneer in the area of international postal flight, and he flew several routes for the French airmail company, the Aeropostale. Just three years later, de Saint-Exupery obtained a position in South America directing the Aeroposta Argentina Company. After two failed engagements, he was finally married to a Salvadorian writer and artist, Consuelo Suncin Sandoval Zecena; yet their marriage was full of strife, rendered so by de Saint-Exupery's many lovers and frequent voyages.
The many adventurous missions that Antoine de Saint-Exupery undertook provided him with ample story-worthy material. He chronicled his encounters in several published books, including his most popular, the philosophical The Little Prince. Although not heavily autobiographical, as many of his works are, the story was inspired by his dire plane crash in the Sahara Desert, where he and his navigator were stranded for four days before rescue. De Saint-Exupery never recorded his final mission, however. After living in the Americas, he fought with the Allied Forces in Europe in 1942, and in 1944 was assigned to report on German forces in the Rhone Valley. It was July 31, and after launching his plane was never seen again. Forty-four-year-old de Saint-Exupery's disappearance was reinvestigated during 1998-2004, when plane wreckage off the Marseille coast was discovered, excavated, and confirmed to be his. The mysterious nature of the crash remains, in itself, a very intriguing story.
Works by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
- The Little Prince
- Courrier-Sud ("Southern Mail")
- Vol de Nuit ("Night Flight")
- Wind, Sand, and Stars
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