Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in Lyons into an old family of provincial nobility. Saint-Exupéry spent his childhood years at the castle of Saint-Maurice-de-Rémens, surrounded by sisters, aunts, cousins, nurses, and fräuleins. He was educated at Jesuit schools in Montgré and Le Mans, and in Switzerland at a Catholic boarding school (1915-1917), run by the Marianist Fathers in Fribourg. After failing his final examination at a university preparatory school, he entered the École des Beaux-Arts to study architecture. The turning point in Saint-Exupéry's life came in 1921 when he started his military service in the 2ND Regiment of Chasseurs, and was sent to Strasbourg for training as a pilot. He had flown, with a pilot, for the first time in 1912. On July 9, 1921, he made his first flight alone in a Sopwith F-CTEE. Next year Saint-Exupéry obtained his pilot's licence, and was offered a transfer to the air force. However, when his fiancée's family objected, he settled in Paris where he took an office job and started to write. During these years Saint-Exupéry wrote his first novel, Southern Mail (1929), which celebrated the courage of the early pilots, flying at the limits of safety, to speed on the mail and win a commercial advantage over rail and steamship rivals. Another story line in the work depicted the author's failed love affair with the novelist Louise de Vilmorin. In 1929 Saint-Exupéry moved to South America, where he was appointed director of the Aeroposta Argentina Company. Saint-Exupéry married in 1931 Consuelo Gómez Carillo, a widow, whose other literary friends included Maurice Maeterlinck and Gabriele D'Annunzio. "He wasn't like other people," she wrote later in Mémoires de la rose, "but like a child or an angel who has fallen down from the sky." The marriage was stormy. Consuelo was jealous for good reasons and felt neglected, when her husband did not spend much time at home. He also had affairs with other women. He...
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