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Författare: Alfonso Vocca.

He was a major French diplomat from 1914 to 1940, after which he lived primarily in the United States until 1967. Alexis Leger was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. His great-grandfather, a solicitor, had settled in Guadeloupe in 1815. In 1897, Hégésippe Légitimus, the first native Guadeloupan elected president of the Guadeloupe General Council, took office with a vindictive agenda towards colonists. The Leger family returned to metropolitan France in 1899 and settled in Pau. In 1904, he met the poet Francis Jammes at Orthez, who became a dear friend.

He frequented cultural clubs, and met Paul Claudel, Odilon Redon, Valery Larbaud and André Gide. In 1914, he joined the French diplomatic service, and spent some of his first years in Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. When World War I broke out, he was a press corps attaché for the government. From 1916 to 1921, he was secretary to the French embassy in Peking.

Leger was warm to classical music and knew Igor Stravinsky, Nadia Boulanger, and Les Six. Saint-John Perse attends the negotiations for the Munich Agreement on 29 September 1938. While in China, Leger had written his first extended poem Anabase, publishing it in 1924 under the pseudonym “Saint-John Perse”, which he employed for the rest of his life. He then published nothing for two decades, not even a re-edition of his debut book, as he believed it inappropriate for a diplomat to publish fiction. Within the Foreign Office he led the optimist faction that believed that Germany was unstable and that if Britain and France stood up to Hitler, he would back down. During his American exile, he wrote his long poems Exil, Vents, Pluies, Neiges, Amers, and Chroniques.