Five Interesting facts about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Rose (“Go and…
Five Interesting facts about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world.”
The little prince abandons and then yearns for the lone, vain and enchanting rose on his tiny planet.
Many believe that rose represents Saint Ex’s wife, the Salvadoran writer Consuelo Suncín de Sandoval.
Like the little prince’s flower, she was petite, exquisite, and had a chronic cough, (from asthma not a drafty asteroid).
She had been married twice before the 6 foot 2 pilot literally swept her off her feet for a ride in his plane on the night they met.
An ex-lover said Consuelo had “a viper’s tongue and a musical body.Saint Ex’s sister called her a “tart.
It was no secret that Consuelo had extramarital affairs, but then so did Saint Ex. Most notoriously with “la blonde” he called “Nellie” a.k.a. Hélène de Vogüé, a stunning socialite and painter whom the OSS (precursor to the CIA) suspected of being a Nazi spy.
But in the end Consuelo had the last word about her husband’s affections in her book titled The Memoir of the Rose.
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing.”
Fantasy became reality in 1993 when an asteroid was named after the little prince’s Asteroid B-612. Another was named after Saint-Exupéry.
An airport in Lyons also bears his name, along with a number of French language schools in Europe, Canada and Latin America.
Before the euro, Saint Ex’s face graced France’s 50-franc note, and a rare blue rose was bred in his honor.
Hollywood legends Orson Welles and James Dean had both hoped to make movies from The Little Prince
Singin’ in the Rain director Stanley Donnen succeeded in 1974 with a live action musical that featured Bob Fosse as the snake that bites the little prince, performing a sizzling dance number that clearly influenced Michael Jackson’s signature moves.
In one of the first reviews of the book Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers predicted, “The Little Prince will shine upon children with a sidewise gleam.
It will strike them in some place that is not the mind and glow there until the time comes for them to comprehend it.” And so it has.
“What! You dropped down from the sky?”
At 23, he fractured his skull in his very first crash.
Then in 1935, trying to win 150,000 francs by breaking the speed record in an air race from Paris to Saigon, he and his mechanic / navigator crashed in the Sahara desert.
They wandered the sand dunes for four days with nothing but “a thermos of sweet coffee, chocolate, and a handful of crackers.
They were dehydrated and hallucinating by the time they were rescued by a Bedouin on a camel who appeared, like the little prince, out of nowhere.
“I shall look as if I were dead. And that will not be true…”
”It’s been suggested that the inquisitive little stranger might be based on Saint Ex’s younger brother who died of rheumatic fever at the age of 15 with the author by his sideOr perhaps he was modeled on the sleeping Polish boy Saint Ex once spotted on a train, about whom he wrote, “What an adorable face!.
Little princes in legends are not different from this.” But Saint Ex himself had been a child with hair so blonde he was nicknamed “The Sun King.”
He was every bit as ravenously curious, bold, and lonely as the little prince, and like his creation, learned the hard way that “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Yet the most haunting similarity between Saint Ex and his little prince is at the end.
Bitten by a snake, the little prince falls into the sand “as gently as a tree falls,” and his body vanishes—whether in death or on his way home we’ll never know.
Likewise for Saint Ex. His plane disappeared in 1944 headed for the south of France. In 1998, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Marseille, a fisherman’s net snared a silver bracelet engraved with Saint-Exupéry’s name.
Following that lead six years later, a diver finally brought up the smashed bits of Saint Ex’s plane…but no trace of his body.
It was impossible to discern if the plane had been in battle or brought down by the pilot himself. The mystery lives on…
“Words are the source of misunderstandings.”
The fox told the prince he could be tamed without them.
The character of the wise fox was possibly inspired by Silvia Hamilton (later Reinhardt), a budding New York journalist who spoke little French but made a mean scrambled egg.
Saint Ex refused to learn English, but night after night in her Fifth Avenue apartment, Silvia tamed his heart through his stomach with intimate suppers of eggs and gin-and-Cokes while he worked on the book.
Just before leaving to join the Free French Air Force, Saint Ex gave Silvia a “rumpled paper bag”.
Stuffed inside was the original manuscript for The Little Prince replete with coffee stains, cigarette burns, and his hand-painted watercolor illustrations.
On the other hand, the fox might have been just that—a little fennec Saint Ex found in the desert and kept as a pet.