Antoine de Saint-Exupery on Corsica, May 1944, Shortly Before His Disappearance

May 10, 2021

Many prominent figures in history begin life as prodigies or show early signs of greatness. For Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry, more commonly known as Antoine de Saint-Exupery, failure and grief were more common companions than glory. The author of Le Petit Prince (English title: The Little Prince) and recipient of France’s highest literary honors was born into an aristocratic family. Nevertheless, the deaths of his father and younger brother before Antoine's 18th birthday shaped his life.

The amazing writer also loved to live on the edge.

Over the course of Saint-Exupery’s relatively short life, a few motifs become apparent. First, he followed his passions with incredible zeal. He loved to write and he loved to fly. It was said he often began writing at 11 pm, with sessions routinely continuing until daybreak.

Despite becoming a famous pilot, he first failed the naval exams and dropped out of architecture school. Regardless, his literary and aviation feats lived on long after his mysterious disappearance while on a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean at the age of 44.

A Writer Through And Through

"The Little Prince" has been a movie, television show, musical, opera, a ballet and a theme park. (literaryhub)

Those inspecting his planes would regularly find balled up pieces of paper with scribbles. They described him as a “distracted flier,” one who would refuse to land until he finished reading a particularly good novel.