Saint-Exupéry: A Biography

Overview

Stacy Schiff has brought Saint-Exupery wonderfully to life in this definitive biography of the enchanting and complex man. Drawing on dramatic new material, she provides full accounts of his many harrowing plunges to earth, the most serious of which led to the publication of Wind, Sand and Stars, and of his unhappy yet fertile years in New York, where he wrote both Flight to Arras and The Little Prince. She includes entirely fresh information on his career as an Allied war pilot as well as a heartbreaking ...
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Saint-exupery: A Biography

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Overview

Stacy Schiff has brought Saint-Exupery wonderfully to life in this definitive biography of the enchanting and complex man. Drawing on dramatic new material, she provides full accounts of his many harrowing plunges to earth, the most serious of which led to the publication of Wind, Sand and Stars, and of his unhappy yet fertile years in New York, where he wrote both Flight to Arras and The Little Prince. She includes entirely fresh information on his career as an Allied war pilot as well as a heartbreaking portrait of him as a Frenchman without a country - and without any politics - in 1940. Deftly, she explores his tortured relationships with his wife and with other women, drawing on many unpublished letters and on her extensive interviews with his friends and his lovers. And she sets him superbly in the context of an era increasingly at odds with his courtly personality and romantic vision.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born in 1900 into one of France's oldest families, impoverished aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupry became a pioneer aviator, braving the Pyrenees, Patagonia and the Sahara, as well as serving as a mail pilot in the 1920s and '30s, and then turning his adventures into lyrical novels. The Little Prince, his children's fable for all ages, secured his fame. This captivating biography deftly separates the man from the myth, revealing an awkward, petulant idealist, an elitist who advocated oligarchy, a pilot known for his mishaps and absentmindedness, and an unhappily married adventurer whose abusive wife eventually reached an uneasy accommodation with his mistress. Fleeing German-occupied France for New York City in 1940, Saint-Exupry felt he was shirking his duty as a Frenchman; he attained the noble death he sought in 1944, missing in action on a reconnaissance flight over southern France. Schiff is a former senior editor at Simon & Schuster. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Antoine de Saint-Exupry, heroic in flight, inept in everyday life, comes alive in this well-documented portrait by first-time author Schiff. Saint-Exupry spent his happiest days flying the mails for Aropostale during the 1920s. When he arrived in Algiers in 1943 after a painful stay in New York during the early days of World War II, where he completed The Little Prince, he believed that he was finished. He had refused to support either De Gaulle and the Free French or the Ptain Vichy government and had expressed the desire to die for his country. In 1944 he died mysteriously in the cockpit of a wartime reconnaissance plane while flying a mission over Italy. Like his Little Prince, he had seen only 44 sunsets. A stimulating biography recommended to everyone with an interest in early aviation and Saint-Exupry.-Bob Ivey, Memphis State Univ., Tenn.
Donna Seaman
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." This is from The Little Prince", a book that still sells 135,000 copies a year in America, 52 years after Saint-Exupery (1900-44) wrote it during one of his many tempestuous exiles from his homeland. Saint-Exupery himself has been largely forgotten, but Schiff has resurrected him in this invigoratingly witty, meticulous, and tenderhearted biography. After describing his "enchanted-garden childhood," Schiff goes on to create a vivid portrait of this "impoverished aristocrat." Dark-eyed, ungainly, bohemian, and romantic, Saint-Exupery never outgrew his boyhood passion for poetry, magic, and flying machines and was happiest as a mail pilot flying the Casablanca-Dakar route over the forbidding but liberating western Sahara, a landscape that shaped all of his fiction. A man adored by women, his tumultuous marriage to Consuelo Gomez Carrillo was legendary, as was his knack for getting himself into political hot water. A man brimming with dreams and sorrow, he disappeared into thin air in a plane crash as inevitable and enigmatic as the demise of his Little Prince. Schiff tells Saint-Exupery's adventure-filled and impassioned life story with remarkable skill and insight, sending us back to his books with renewed interest and compassion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679403104
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/18/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 525
  • Product dimensions: 6.89 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff is the author of A Great Improvisation and Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), which won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for biography. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Schiff lives in New York City.

Biography

Stacy Schiff is the author of Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2000, and Saint-Exupery. which was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. Schiff's work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and The Times Literary Supplement. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City.

Author biograpy courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 26, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      Adams, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Williams College, 1982
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Introduction

A King of Infinite Space

The Mother Country

Things in Heaven and Earth

Lost Horizons

Silver Linings

Walking on Air

Friends in High Places

The Swift Completion of Their Appointed Rounds

Toward the Country Where the Stones Fly

Brightness Falls

Beyond the Call of Duty

"Tayara Boum-Boum, Tayara Boum-Boum!"

Civil Evening Twilight

Where is France?

Resistance on Fifth Avenue

Anywhere Out of This World

Into Thin Air

Epilogue: Saint Antoine d’Exupéry

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