Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (sah[n]-tayg-zew-pay-ree), a French pioneer of early aviation. Beginning in 1926, when he began to fly the mails across the Pyrenees, the author had many adventures. In this random novelistic account of eight years as a pilot, Saint-Exupéry tells of some of his experiences, without a trace of melodrama or pride. Planes still had open cockpits when he began to fly, and in low visibility, pilots often would thrust their heads out because they could not see through the windscreen. Without radio, becoming lost was not uncommon. Once, a thick cloud cover forced the pilot lower and lower, until he crashed at 170 miles per hour into a gentle slope at the top of a barren plateau. Miraculously, the pilot and mechanic survived the crash, but they nearly died in their 124-mile trek across a blazing desert, to be saved at last by a camel-riding Bedouin. Another time, the pilot was caught in a cyclone and was sucked down to earth at 150 miles per hour. He battled to stay airborne, 60 feet above water, against a headwind of more than 100 miles per hour. During a heroic twenty-minute struggle, he managed to advance only 100 yards. Nearly exhausted, he finally succeeded in escaping the storm. The author writes of these and other such ordeals with a grace, beauty, and sensitivity that heightens the experiences into a poetry of wisdom. In 1944, Saint-Exupéry failed to return while on a reconnaissance mission over...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Cate, Curtis. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. New York: Putnam, 1970. Contains many informative details and is well written. Portrays Saint-Exupéry as an eccentric figure. This voluminous work serves as an excellent starting place.

Galantière, Lewis. “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.” Atlantic Monthly 179, no. 4 (April, 1947): 133-141. Galantière, who translated Wind, Sand, and Stars, discusses such aesthetic aspects of Saint-Exupéry’s writing as his philosophy of art and the influences on his development.

Migeo, Marcel. Saint-Exupéry. Paris: Flammarion, 1958. An interesting, reliable account of Saint-Exupéry’s life by someone who knew Saint-Exupéry during his military service. Migeo is mainly concerned with Saint-Exupéry’s personal life, but he also examines the role the author’s experiences as a pilot in the French military played in forming his theories of art.

Peyre, Henre. “The French Novel at Mid-century.” New Republic 129, no. 6 (September 7, 1953): 16-17. Useful for a literary analysis of Saint-Exupéry’s work. Provides a critical evaluation of Saint-Exupéry’s novels and places the author in the tradition of contemporary French novels.

Robinson, Joy D. Marie. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Boston: Twayne, 1984. Explores the philosophies and themes that underlie all Saint-Exupéry’s works. The study is enriched by the extensive use of biographical material. Includes a chronology and a selected bibliography of English and French sources. Essential for any literary discussion of Saint-Exupéry.