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Signed book, First edition

Antoine de SAINT-EXUPERY Courrier sud


Courrier sud

Nrf, Paris 1932, 12x19cm, broché.

New edition.
Spine very discreetly restored, a few fold marks on the front cover.

Exceptional copy signed and inscribed  by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: "For Jean Lucas. With all my true friendship cemented by sand (the play on words is bad but the heart is there). In memory of the beautiful orgies of Port Etienne." ("Pour Jean Lucas. Avec toute ma vraie amitié cimentée par le sable (l'astuce est mauvaise mais le coeur y est). En souvenir des belles orgies de Port Etienne." with a drawing of a naked girl.
Saint-Exupéry inscribed this copy of his first book to Jean Lucas, a fellow pilot at l'Aéropostale, who prepared with him in 1935 his famous Paris-Saigon raid during where he famously crashed "in the center of the desert" of Libya. His accident as well as the stopovers in Port Etienne with Lucas will be told in his masterpiece Wind, Sand, and Stars. Lucas will celebrate at his side the great literary success of this last novel (winner Grand Prix of the French Academy) at Consuelo's flat in Paris, with writer Léon-Paul Fargue and the Werth couple.
In this long and humorous inscription, the writer evokes moments spent in 1931 in Port-Etienne, now Nouadhibou in Mauritania, where "Lucas, head of the airport, turns, night and day, the gramophone which, so far from life, speaks to us a language half lost, and causes a melancholy without object which curiously resembles thirst" (Wind, Sand, and Stars). In this refuge where "the threats are dampened by so much sand" a fraternity itself "cemented by the sand" was born between these pioneers of aviation. Braving all imaginable dangers, Saint-Exupéry flew mail from France to Casablanca in a Laté 26. He recalls here his stopovers, the "beautiful orgies of Port-Etienne" in the burning solitude of these remote lands: "Located on the edge of unsettled territories, Port-Etienne is not a city. There is a fort, a hangar and a wooden hut for the crews of our country" he writes in Wind, Sand, and Stars. In the company of Lucas and the captain-governor, he kills boredom with chess games, conjuring tricks, naval battles, games of hangman, long stories of flights and girls, as the explicit ink drawing at the bottom of the page seems to attest... many crazy evenings of which this letter and this drawing preserve the memory.
One night in July 1939, Lucas cured him of his "blank page syndrome" by locking him in his room so that he could finish his preface to the book by aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh. At the end of the war, the inconsolable Léon Werth, to whom Saint-Exupéry dedicated The Little Prince, wrote to Jean Lucas: "The armistice without Tonio is not quite the armistice".

An exceptional gesture of friendship from the "Lord of the Sands" to his faithful brother in arms. Lucas was one of the rare intimates the writer confided in (Saint Exupéry, Une vie à contre courant, p. 264).


10 000 €

Réf : 82113



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