Des Vallières, Nathalie 1952-
des VALLIÈRES, Nathalie 1952-
PERSONAL: Born 1952.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Rizzoli/Universe International Publications, 300 Park Ave. South, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Writer and art historian.
(With Roselyne de Ayala) Le plus beaux manuscrits de Saint Exupèry, Martinière (Paris, France), 2003, translation by Anthony Zielonka published as Saint-Exupèry: Art, Writing, and Musings, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Pierre-Emmanuel Prouvost d'Agostino) Les plus beaux manuscrits de Arthur Rimbaud, Martinière (Paris, France), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Art historian Nathalie des Vallières is the great-niece of Antoine de Saint-Exupèry (1900–1944), the French inventor, pilot, and writer best known for his children's book, The Little Prince. This book, which sells more than one million copies each year, is said to be outsold worldwide only by the bible and Karl Marx's Das Kapital, yet its origins remain unknown. Saint-Exupèry: Art, Writing, and Musings, written by Vallières and Roselyne de Ayala, chronicles Saint-Exupèry's life through a collection of photographs, drawings, manuscripts, and his own sketches, reports, and notes.
Saint-Exupèry moved to the United States in 1940, hoping to persuade this country to enter the war in Europe. His life of daring adventure was cut short when his plane disappeared on July 31, 1944 during a reconnaissance mission. The book chronicles his life from childhood, but it says nothing about his father, who died when the boy was four. It includes pictures of childhood homework assignments and scraps of paper and hotel stationery upon which the adult Saint-Exupèry scribbled drafts for his written works, including The Little Prince.
The fascination with Saint-Exupèry is due, in part, to his Hemingwayesque qualities. He survived a number of plane crashes and flew mail planes in South America in the 1920s, including the route from Buenos Aires to Patagonia that was the inspiration for his 1931 novel Night Flight. His 1938 collection of essays, titled Wind, Sand, and Stars, was also inspired by this period in his life. Booklist contributor Donna Seaman called the large-format volume "a gorgeous monograph that tells the entire story of Saint Exupèry's amazing life in both image and text."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of Saint-Exupèry: Art, Writing, and Musings, p. 1687.
Guardian (Manchester, England), June 24, 2000, Paul Webster, review of Saint-Exupèry, p. 3.
Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Erica Swenson Danowitz, review of Saint-Exupèry, p. 85.
New York Times, September 10, 2000, Valerie Cotsalas, "The Little Prince: Born in Asharoken," p. 14LI.
Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2004, Benjamin Ivy, review of Saint-Exupèry, p. D6.