Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye. ~ The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint Exupéry (29 June 190031 July 1944) was a French writer, poet and aviator.

See also The Little Prince

Quotes[edit]

It is another of the miraculous things about mankind that there is no pain nor passion that does not radiate to the ends of the earth. Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world.
  • Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings
    • Vol de Nuit (1931) (translated into English as Night Flight)
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
  • Un tas de pierres cesse d'être un tas de pierres, des qu'un seul homme le contemple avec, en lui, l'image d'une cathédrale.
    • Translation: A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
    • Pilote de Guerre (1942) (translated into English as Flight to Arras)
Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.
  • If it is true that wars are won by believers, it is also true that peace treaties are sometimes signed by businessmen.
    • "Letter to an American" (1944)

Terre des Hommes (1939)[edit]

Translated into English as Wind, Sand and Stars (1939)
  • The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them.
  • It is another of the miraculous things about mankind that there is no pain nor passion that does not radiate to the ends of the earth. Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world.
  • L’expérience nous montre qu’aimer ce n’est point nous regarder l’un l’autre mais regarder ensemble dans la même direction. (Page 203)
    • Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. (Translated by Lewis Galantière in "Wind, Sand and Stars")
Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered; it is something molded.
  • Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.
  • Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures — in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together.
It seems that perfection is attained, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
  • Être homme, c'est précisément être responsable. C'est connaître la honte en face d'une misère qui ne semblait pas dépendre de soi. C'est être fier d'une victoire que les camarades ont remportée. C'est sentir, en posant sa pierre, que l'on contribue à bâtir le monde.
    • To be a man is to be responsible: to be ashamed of miseries you did not cause; to be proud of your comrades' victories; to be aware, when setting one stone, that you are building a world.
      • Livre de Poche n°68, p.59
  • Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n'y a plus rien à retrancher.
    • It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.
    • As translated by Lewis Galantière: ... perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away ...
    • Ch. III: L'Avion, p. 60
What makes the desert beautiful is that it hides, somewhere, a well.

Le Petit Prince (1943)[edit]

These are just a few selections, for more quotes from this work see The Little Prince
  • Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
    • Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.
    • Variant translations: Here is my secret. It is very simple: one sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.
      The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart.
  • Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c'est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours leur donner des explications.
    • Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
  • Ce qui embellit le désert, dit le petit prince, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part...
    • What makes the desert beautiful is that it hides, somewhere, a well.

Citadelle or The Wisdom of the Sands (1948)[edit]

  • Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.
  • Confuse not love with the raptures of possession, which bring the cruellest of sufferings. For, notwithstanding the general opinion, love does not cause suffering: what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love's opposite.
    • Page 152


Disputed[edit]

  • A goal without a plan is just a wish.
    • The earliest appearance yet located of this statement is in 50 Ways to Lose Ten Pounds (1995) by Joan Horbiak, p. 95, where it is quoted as an anonymous proverb. It seems to have circulated as such for a few years before it began to be attributed to Saint Exupéry around 2007.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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