Flight to Arras

A Rare and Interesting Book at Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper will offer a broad array of books as a specialty series within the Discovery Sale that will close on the evening of March 12. The series will comprise about 90 lots, beginning at 2800.

Among many fascinating and attractive items is Lot 2886, a special limited edition of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s, Flight to Arras, published in New York in 1942 in an edition of 500 copies. Originally composed in French, this English version was published almost simultaneously, in an effort to shape American public opinion with regard to the Nazi conquest of much of Europe. St.-Exupery’s book is a classic narrative of the German blitzkrieg in France during World War II. It recounts the futile heroism of his fellow pilots, the majority of whom were killed in action. Original lithographs by Bernard Lamotte add a vivid expression to the work.


Lot 2886, St. Exupery, Flight to Arras, Signed LTD. Edition

At the time of writing, Saint-Exupery was living in exile in New York City. Saint-Exupery and Lamotte had been friends for years, and he wrote large portions of the book in Lamotte’s studio. Presumably, at the same time Lamotte created the illustrations for the book. Saint-Exupery’s earlier books were already regarded as classics in the literary world, so this beautiful illustrated edition was eagerly awaited, despite the hardships of war. Months later, Saint-Exupery would write and himself illustrate his most famous book, The Little Prince.


Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Photo credit: IMDb, NY Times)

By 1943, Saint-Exupery had joined the Free French forces as a pilot. On July 31, 1944, while on a reconnaissance mission, his airplane disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea. His body was never recovered. Though his life was cut short, his brief catalog of books has been cherished for generations now, and collectors highly prize the first editions. This one is particularly rare, with only a few copies available on the market.

Alex Cooper regularly offers rare books, historical documents, and ephemera at auction. We are always happy to consult with potential consignors, whether concerning a single piece of interest or a large collection.

Please contact Richard Hall with any inquiries.


Richard Hall
Specialist of Rare Books & Ephemera