Pilote de guerre.New York, Éditions de la Maison française, Inc., Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., 1942 Stock Code: 139246
NotesFirst edition, first printing, number 10 of 50 large-paper copies on papier Texte, presentation copy to his closest American friend and partial inspiration for The Little Prince, inscribed by the author "Pour Sylvia Hamilton, Avec la profonde et tendre amitié de son vieil ami, Antoine".
Silvia Hamilton - later Reinhardt - was the inspiration for key aspects of Saint-Exupéry's writing. Saint-Exupéry wrote his most famous work, The Little Prince, while he was living in New York City for two years during the Second World War. The author, who was married, developed a strong bond with Reinhardt, who was divorced, during his time in New York, and wrote some of the book in her apartment. She was the model for the character of Saint-Exupéry's fox, who uttered the book's oft-quoted line, "What is essential is invisible to the eye." Her black poodle inspired the sheep character, and her mop-topped doll, the little prince himself.
Pilote de Guerre relates Exupery's own experiences fighting in the air against the Germans in the early years of the Second World War. It was first published in New York in February 1942, simultaneously in French by Éditions de la Maison française (as here) and in English by Reynal & Hitchcock under the title Flight to Arras. The total French edition was 526 copies, with 26 lettered copies, and a further 450 trade copies on papier Corsican. The book reached France towards the end of year 1942 where it was banned for calling Hitler an "imbecile" and then published clandestinely.
Small quarto. Original brown wrappers printed in black and red, edges untrimmed, pages unopened. Housed in a custom chemise and slipcase by Devauchele.
Tiny chips at extremities, spine a little rubbed, contents clean and unopened. An excellent copy.
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