The Little Prince
|The Little Prince|
|Author||Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|
|Original title||Le Petit Prince (as handwritten)|
|Illustrator||Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|
|Cover artist||Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|
(English & French)Note 2
|Language||English, French and
250+ other languages
|Publisher||Reynal & Hitchcock (U.S.A.)
|1943 (U.S.: English & French)
1945 (France: French)1Note 1
|Media type||Hardcover, paperback, E-book, CD audiobook, audio tape, LP record, filmstrip, theatre, screen, opera, ballet, plus others|
(English, U.S.A., Howard)
(Eng. & Fr., U.K., Wilkinson)
|Preceded by||Pilote de guerre (1942)|
|Followed by||Lettre à un otage (1944)|
The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince; French pronunciation: [lə.pə.tiˈpʁɛ̃s]), first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944).
The novella is both the most read and most translated book in the French language, and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as braille),34 selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totalling over 140 million copies worldwide,5 it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.678Note 3
- 1 Overview
- 2 Plot
- 3 Inspirations
- 4 Background
- 5 Reception
- 6 Illustrations
- 7 Manuscript
- 8 Literary translations and printed editions
- 9 Extension of copyrights in France
- 10 Adaptations
- 11 Sequels
- 12 Honours and legacy
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes societal criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. It was written during a dark, restless, but productive period for Saint-Exupéry after he fled to North America subsequent to the Fall of France during the Second World War, witnessed first hand by the author and captured in his memoir Flight to Arras.12
Though ostensibly a children's book, The Little Prince makes several profound and idealistic observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince during his travels on Earth. The story's essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. ("One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.")13 Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé. ("You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.") and C'est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante. ("It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.") The fox's messages are arguably the book's most famous quotations because they deal with human relationships.
The narrator explains that, as a young boy, he once drew a picture of a boa constrictor with an elephant digesting in its stomach; however, every adult who saw the picture would mistakenly interpret it as a drawing of a hat. Whenever the narrator would try to correct this confusion, he was ultimately advised to set aside drawing and take up a more practical or mature hobby. The narrator laments the lack of creative understanding displayed by adults.
Now an adult himself, the narrator has become a pilot, and, one day, his plane crashes in the Sahara desert, far from civilization. Here, the narrator is suddenly greeted by a young boy or small man whom he refers to as "the little prince". The little prince asks the narrator to draw a sheep. The narrator first shows him his old picture of the elephant inside the snake, which, to the narrator's surprise, the prince interprets correctly. After a few failed attempts at drawing a good-looking sheep, the narrator simply draws a box in his frustration, claiming that the box holds a sheep inside. Again, to the narrator's surprise, the prince exclaims that this is exactly the picture he wanted. The narrator says that the prince has a strange habit of avoiding directly answering any of the narrator's questions. The prince is described as having golden hair, a scarf, and a lovable laugh.
Over the course of eight days stranded in the desert, as the narrator attempts to repair his plane, the little prince recounts the story of his life. The prince begins by describing life on his tiny home planet: in effect, an asteroid the size of a house (which the narrator believes to be the one known as B-612). The asteroid's most prominent features are three minuscule volcanoes (two active, and one dormant or extinct) as well as a variety of plants. The prince describes spending his earlier days cleaning the volcanoes and weeding out certain unwanted seeds and sprigs that infest his planet's soil; in particular, pulling out baobab trees that are constantly trying to grow and overrun the surface. The prince appears to want a sheep to eat such undesirable plants, until the narrator informs him that a sheep will even eat roses with thorns. Upon hearing this, the prince tells of his love for a mysterious rose that suddenly began growing on the asteroid's surface some time ago. The prince says he nourished the rose and listened to her when she told him to make a screen or glass globe to protect her from the cold wind. Although the prince fell in love with the rose, he also began to feel that she was taking advantage of him, and he resolved to leave the planet to explore the rest of the universe. Although the rose finally apologized for her vanity, and the two reconciled, she encouraged him to go ahead with his journey and so he traveled onward.
The prince has since visited six other asteroids, each of which was inhabited by a foolish, narrow-minded adult, including: a king with no subjects; a conceited man, who believed himself the most admirable person on his otherwise uninhabited planet; a drunkard who drank to forget the shame of being a drunkard; a businessman who endlessly counted the stars and absurdly claimed to own them all; a lamplighter who mindlessly extinguished and relighted a lamp every single minute; and an elderly geographer, so wrapped up in theory that he never actually explored the world that he claimed to be mapping. When the geographer asked the prince to describe his home, the prince mentioned the rose, and the geographer explained that he does not record "ephemeral" things, such as roses. The prince was shocked and hurt by this revelation, since the rose was of great importance to him on a personal level. The geographer recommended that the prince next visit the planet Earth.
On Earth, the prince landed in the desert, leading him to believe that Earth was uninhabited. He then met a yellow snake that claimed to have the power to return him to his home, if he ever wished to return. The prince next met a desert flower, who told him that she had only seen a handful of men in this part of the world and that they had no roots, letting the wind blow them around and living hard lives. After climbing the highest mountain he had ever seen, the prince hoped to see the whole of Earth, thus finding the people; however, he saw only the enormous, desolate landscape. When the prince called out, his echo answered him, which he interpreted as the mocking voices of others. Eventually, the prince encountered a whole row of rosebushes, becoming downcast at having once thought that his own rose was unique. He began to feel that he was not a great prince at all, as his planet contained only three tiny volcanoes and a flower that he now thought of as common. He lay down in the grass and wept, until a fox came along. The fox desired to be tamed and explained to the prince that his rose really was indeed unique and special, because she was the object of the prince's love. The fox also explained that, in a way, the prince had tamed the rose, and that this is why the prince was now feeling so responsible for her. The prince then took time to tame the fox, though the two ultimately parted ways, teary-eyed. The prince next came across a railway switchman, who told him how passengers constantly rushed from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they were and not knowing what they were after; only the children among them ever bothered to look out the windows. A merchant then talked to the prince about his product, a pill that eliminated thirst, which was very popular, saving people fifty-three minutes a week. The prince replied that he would instead gladly use that extra time to go around finding fresh water.
Back in the present moment, it is the eighth day after the narrator's plane-crash and the narrator is dying of thirst; fortunately, he and the prince together find a well. The narrator later finds the prince talking to the snake, discussing his return home and eager to see his rose again, who he worries has been left to fend for herself. The prince bids an emotional farewell to the narrator and states that if it looks as though he has died, it is only because his body was too heavy to take with him to his planet. The prince warns the narrator not to watch him leave, as it will make him upset. The narrator, realizing what will happen, refuses to leave the prince's side; the prince consoles the narrator by saying that he only need look at the stars to think of the prince's lovable laughter, and that it will seem as if all the stars are laughing. The prince then walks away from the narrator and allows the snake to bite him, falling without making a sound.
The next morning, the narrator tries to look for the prince, but is unable to find his body. The story ends with the narrator's drawing of the landscape where the prince and the narrator met and where the snake took the prince's life. The narrator requests that anyone in that area encountering a small man who refuses to answer questions should contact the narrator immediately.
In The Little Prince, its narrator, the pilot, talks of being stranded in the desert beside his crashed aircraft. This account clearly drew on Saint-Exupéry's own experience in the Sahara, an ordeal described in detail in his 1939 memoir Wind, Sand and Stars (original French: Terre des hommes).
On December 30, 1935, at 02:45 am, after 19 hours and 44 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his copilot-navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Sahara desert.14 They were attempting to break the speed record for a Paris-to-Saigon flight in a then-popular type of air race, called a raid, and win a prize of 150,000 francs.15 Their plane was a Caudron C-630 Simoun,Note 4 and the crash site is thought to have been near to the Wadi Natrun valley, close to the Nile Delta.16
Both miraculously survived the crash, only to face rapid dehydration in the intense desert heat. Their maps were primitive and ambiguous. Lost among the sand dunes with a few grapes, a thermos of coffee, a single orange, and some wine, the pair had only one day's worth of liquid. They both began to see mirages, which were quickly followed by more vivid hallucinations. By the second and third days, they were so dehydrated that they stopped sweating altogether. Finally, on the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel discovered them and administered a native rehydration treatment that saved Saint-Exupéry and Prévot's lives.15
During his service as a mail pilot in the North African Sahara desert, Saint-Exupéry had viewed a fennec (desert sand fox), which most likely inspired him to create the fox character in the book. In a letter written to his sister Didi from the Western Sahara's Cape Juby, where he was the manager of an airmail stopover station in 1928, he tells of raising a fennec which he adored.citation needed
Many researchers believe that the prince's petulant, vain rose was very likely inspired by his Salvadoran wife Consuelo de Saint Exupéry,1718 with the small home planet being inspired by her small home country El Salvador, also known as "The Land of Volcanoes" due to the area having so many of them.19 Despite a raucous marriage, Antoine kept Consuelo close to heart and portrayed her as the prince's Rose whom he tenderly protects with a wind screen and under a glass dome on his tiny planet. Saint-Exupéry's infidelity and the doubts of his marriage are symbolized by the vast field of roses the prince encounters during his visit to Earth.
In the novella the Wise Fox, believed to be modelled after the author's intimate New York City friend Silvia Hamilton Reinhardt, tells the prince that his rose is unique and special, because she is the one that he loves.17 The novella's iconic phrase, "One sees clearly only with the heart", is believed to have been suggested by Reinhardt.
The fearsome, grasping baobab trees, researchers have contended, were meant to represent Nazism attempting to destroy the planet.17 The little prince's reassurance to the pilot that his dying body is only an empty shell resembles the last words of Antoine's dying younger brother François, who told the author, from his deathbed: "Don't worry. I'm all right. I can't help it. It's my body".20
The literary device of presenting philosophical and social commentaries in the form of the impressions gained by a fictional extraterrestrial visitor to Earth had already been used by the philosopher and satirist Voltaire in his story Micromégas of 1752 — a classic work of French literature with which Saint-Exupéry was likely familiar.citation needed
Saint-Exupéry may have drawn inspiration for the prince's character and appearance from his own self as a youth, as during his early years friends and family called him le Roi-Soleil (the Sun King) due to his golden curly hair. The author had also met a precocious eight-year-old with curly blond hair while residing with a family in Quebec City, Canada in 1942, Thomas, the son of philosopher Charles De Koninck.2122 Another possible inspiration for the little prince has been suggested as Land Morrow Lindbergh, the young, golden-haired son of the pioneering American aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow, who lived not far from Saint-Exupéry and who met with him briefly during his stay on Long Island.2324Note 5
Some see the prince as a Christ figure, as "...he is described as being free of sin. He also believes in a life after death [and at] the end of the book, he returns to his star, his heaven."25
One of Saint-Exupéry's earliest literary references to a small prince is to be found in his second news dispatch from Moscow, dated May 14, 1935. In his writings as a special correspondent for Paris-Soir the author described his transit from France to the U.S.S.R. by train. Late at night during the train trip he ventured from his first class accommodation into the third class carriages, where he came upon large groups of Polish families huddled together, returning to their homeland. His commentary not only described a diminutive prince, but also touched on several other themes Saint-Exupéry incorporated into various philosophical writings:26
|“||I sat down [facing a sleeping] couple. Between the man and the woman a child had hollowed himself out a place and fallen asleep. He turned in his slumber, and in the dim lamplight I saw his face. What an adorable face! A golden fruit had been born of these two peasants..... This is a musician's face, I told myself. This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this. Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become? When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all gardeners rejoice. They isolate the rose, tend it, foster it. But there is no gardener for men. This little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine.... This little Mozart is condemned.||”|
—A Sense of Life: En Route to the U.S.S.R.
Saint-Exupéry, a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and a reserve military pilot at the start of the Second World War, wrote and illustrated the manuscript while exiled in the United States after the Fall resulting from the Battle of France. He had travelled there on a personal mission to persuade its government to quickly enter the war against Nazi Germany. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health he produced almost half of the writings he would be remembered for, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth.27 An earlier memoir by the author recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince.
Upon the outbreak of World War II, Saint-Exupéry, a successful pioneering aviator prior to the war, initially flew with a reconnaissance squadron in the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force). After France's defeat in 1940 and its armistice with Germany, he and his wife Consuelo fled occupied France and sojourned in North America, with Saint-Exupéry first arriving by himself at the very end of December 1940. His intention for the visit was to convince the United States to quickly enter the war against Germany and the Axis forces. Although greeted warmly by French-speaking Americans and many of his fellow expatriates who preceded him to New York, his 27 month stay would be marred by health problems and racked with periods of severe stress, martial and marital strife. According to Saint-Exupéry's American translator (the author couldn't speak English), "[h]e was restless and unhappy in exile, seeing no way to fight again for his country and refusing to take part in the political quarrels that set Frenchman against Frenchman". However the period would be both a "dark but productive time" during which he created three important works.12
Between January 1941 and April 1943 the Saint-Exupérys lived in two penthouse apartments on Central Park South,28 then the Bevin House mansion in Asharoken, Long Island, N.Y., and still later at a rented house on Beekman Place in New York City.2930 During his stay on Long Island, Saint-Exupéry would meet Land Morrow Lindbergh, the young, golden-haired son of the pioneering American aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow.2324 The couple also stayed in Quebec, Canada, for five weeks during the late spring of 1942, where they met a precocious eight-year-old boy with blond curly hair, Thomas, the son of philosopher Charles De Koninck with whom the Saint-Exupéry's resided.31323334
After returning to the United States from his Quebec speaking tour, Saint-Exupéry was pressed to work on a children's book by Elizabeth Reynal, one of the wives of his U.S. publisher, Reynal & Hitchcock. The French wife of Eugene Reynal had closely observed Saint-Exupéry for several months, and noting his high stress levels and ill health, suggested to him that working on a children's story would help.35Note 6 The author wrote and illustrated The Little Prince in New York City and the Long Island north-shore community of Asharoken in mid-to-late 1942, with the manuscript being completed in October.303136
Although the book was started in his Central Park South penthouse, Saint-Exupéry soon found New York City's noise and sweltering summer heat too uncomfortable to work in, so Consuelo was dispatched to find improved accommodations. After spending some time at an unsuitable clapboard country house in Connecticut, the newer result was to be the Bevin House, a 22 room mansion in Asharoken overlooking Long Island Sound. The author-aviator initially complained, "I wanted a hut [but it's] the Palace of Versailles"; however, as the weeks wore on and the author became invested in the project, the home would become "....a haven for writing, the best place I have ever had anywhere in my life". He devoted himself to the book on both extended daytime and midnight shifts, fueled by helpings of scrambled eggs on English muffins, gin and tonics, Coca-Colas, cigarettes and numerous reviews by friends and expatriates who dropped in to see their famous countryman. Included among the reviewers was Consuelo's Swiss writer paramour Denis de Rougemont, who also modeled for a painting of the Little Prince lying on his stomach, feet and arms extended up in the air.2730 De Rougemont would later help Consuelo write her autobiography, The Tale of the Rose, as well as write his own biography of Saint-Exupéry.
While the author's personal life was frequently chaotic, his creative process while writing was disciplined, according to Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts at the Morgan Library and Museum, which obtained Saint-Exupéry's original manuscript in 1968. "On the one hand, he had a clear vision for the shape, tone, and message of the story. On the other hand, he was ruthless about chopping out entire passages that just weren’t quite right", eventually winnowing the 30,000 word manuscript, accompanied by small illustrations, to approximately half its original length.37 The story, Nelson added, was created when he was "...an ex-patriot and distraught about what was going on in his country and in the world."5
The large white Second French Empire style mansion, hidden behind tall trees, afforded the writer a multitude of work environments. It allowed him to alternately work on his writings, and then on his sketches and watercolours for hours at a time, moving his armchair and paint easel from the library towards the parlor one room at a time in order to follow the sun's light. His meditative view of the sunsets at the Bevin House eventually became part of the gist of The Little Prince, in which 43 daily sunsets would be discussed. "On your planet..." the story told, "...all you need do is move your chair a few steps."2730Note 7
Stacy Schiff, one of Saint-Exupéry's principal biographers, wrote of him and his most famous work, "rarely have an author and a character been so intimately bound together as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his Little Prince", and remarking of their dual fates, "...the two remain tangled together, twin innocents who fell from the sky".38
Only weeks after his novella was first published in April 1943, despite his wife's pleadings and before Saint-Exupéry had received any of its royalties (he never would), the author-aviator joined the Free French Forces. He would remain immensely proud of The Little Prince, and almost always kept a personal copy with him which he often read to others during the war.38
As part of a 32 ship military convoy he voyaged to North Africa where he rejoined his old squadron to fight with the Allies, resuming his work as a reconnaissance pilot despite the best efforts of his friends, colleagues and fellow airmen who could not prevent him from flying.Note 8 He had previously escaped death by the barest of margins a number of times, but was then lost in action during a July 1944 spy mission from the moonscapes of Corsica to the continent in preparation for the Allied invasion of occupied France, only three weeks before the Liberation of Paris.27Note 9
- Further information: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry –Disappearance
Many of the book’s initial reviewers were flummoxed by the fable’s story line and its morals, perhaps expecting a significantly more conventional story from one of France’s leading writers. Others were not shy in offering their praise. P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins series of children books, wrote in her review: “The Little Prince will shine upon children with a sidewise gleam. It will strike them in some place that is not the mind and glow there until the time comes for them to comprehend it.”41
British journalist Neil Clark, in The American Conservative, much later offered an expansive view of Saint-Exupéry’s overall work by commenting that it provides a “…bird’s eye view of humanity [and] contains some of the most profound observations on the human condition ever written”, and that the author’s novella “…doesn't merely express his contempt for selfishness and materialism [but] shows how life should be lived.”42
All of the novella's simple but elegant watercolour illustrations, which were integral to the story, were painted by Saint-Exupéry. He had studied architecture as a young adult but nevertheless could not be considered an artist — which he self-mockingly referred to in the novella's introduction. Several of his paintings were done on the wrong side of the delicate onion skin paper that he used, his medium of choice.30 As with some of his draft manuscripts, he occasionally gave away preliminary sketches to close friends and colleagues; others were even recovered as crumpled balls from the floors in the cockpits of the P-38 Lightnings he later flew. Two or three original Little Prince drawings were reported in the collections of New York artist, sculptor and experimental filmmaker Joseph Cornell.43 One rare original Little Prince watercolour would be mysteriously sold at a second-hand book fair in Japan in 1994, and subsequently authenticated in 2007.4445
An unrepentant lifelong doodler, Saint-Exupéry had for many years sketched little people on his napkins, tablecloths, letters to paramours and friends, lined notebooks and other scraps of paper. Early figures took on a multitude of appearances, engaged in a variety of tasks. Some appeared as doll-like figures, baby puffins, angels with wings, and even a figure similar to that in Robert Crumb's famous Keep On Truckin' (1968). His characters were frequently seen chasing butterflies; when asked why they did so, Saint-Exupéry, who thought of the figures as his alter-egos, replied that they were actually pursuing a "realistic ideal".27 Saint-Exupéry eventually settled on the image of the young, precocious child with curly blond hair, an image which would become the subject of speculations as to its source.
To mark both the 50th and 70th anniversaries of The Little Prince's publication, the Morgan Library and Museum mounted major exhibitions of Saint-Exupéry's draft manuscript, preparatory drawings, and similar materials which it had earlier obtained from various sources. One major source was an intimate friend of his in New York City, Silvia Hamilton (later, Reinhardt), to whom he gave his working manuscript just prior to returning to Algiers to resume his work as a Free French Air Force pilot.174647 Hamilton's black poodle, Mocha, is believed by some to have been the model for the Little Prince's sheep. Additionally, a pet boxer, named Hannibal, that she gave to him as a gift may have been the model for the story's dessert fox and its tiger.12 A museum representative stated that the novella's final drawings were lost.17
The author had held back seven drawings from the book which were displayed at the library's exhibit, including fearsome looking baobab trees ready to destroy the prince's home asteroid, as well as a picture of the story's narrator, the forlorn pilot, sleeping next to his aircraft. That image was likely omitted to avoid giving the story a 'literalness' which would distract its readers, according to one of the Morgan Library's curators.17 According to Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts at the Morgan, "[t]he image evokes Saint-Exupéry's own experience of awakening in an isolated, mysterious place. You can almost imagine him wandering without much food and water and conjuring up the character of the Little Prince."5 Another reviewer noted that the author "...chose the best illustrations... to maintain the ethereal tone he wanted his story to exude. Choosing between ambiguity and literal text and illustrations, Saint-Exupéry chose in every case to obfuscate."48 Not a single drawing of the story's narrator survived the author's editing process; "...he was very good at excising what was not essential to his story".5
In 2001 Japanese researcher Yoshitsugu Kunugiyama surmised that the cover illustration Saint-Exupéry painted for Le Petit Prince deliberately depicted a stellar arrangement created to celebrate the author's own centennial of birth. According to Kunugiyama, the cover art chosen from one of Saint-Exupéry's watercolour illustrations contained the planets Saturn and Jupiter, plus the star Aldebaran, arranged as an isosceles triangle, a celestial configuration which occurred in the early 1940s, and which he likely knew would next reoccur in the year 2000.49 Saint-Exupéry possessed superior mathematical skills and was a master celestial navigator, a vocation he had studied at Salon-de-Provence with the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force).
The original autograph manuscript of The Little Prince, along with various drafts and trial drawings, was acquired in 1968 by the Pierpont Morgan Library (now The Morgan Library & Museum) in Manhattan, New York City.7 The manuscript pages includes content that was struck-through and therefore not published as part of the first edition. In addition to the manuscript, several watercolour illustrations by the author are also held by the museum. They were not part of the first edition. The institution has marked both the 50th and 70th anniversaries of the novella's publication with major exhibitions of Saint-Exupéry's literary works.1746
In April 2012 a Parisian auction house announced the discovery of two previously unknown draft manuscript pages that had been found and which included new text.650 In the newly discovered material the Prince meets his first Earthling after his arrival. The person he meets is an "ambassador of the human spirit".650 The ambassador is too busy to talk, saying he is searching for a missing six letter word: "I am looking for a six-letter word that starts with G that means 'gargling'," he says. Saint-Exupéry's text does not say what the word is, but experts believe it could be "guerre" (or "war"). The novella thus takes a more politicized tack with an anti-war sentiment, as 'to gargle' in French is an informal reference to 'honour', which the author may have viewed as a key factor in military confrontations between nations.5051
- Further information: Morgan exhibitions
Katherine Woods (1886–1968)52 produced the classic English translation of 1943 which was later joined by other English translations. Her original version contained some errors.5354 Mistranslations aside, one reviewer noted that Wood's almost "poetic" English translation has long been admired by many Little Prince lovers who have spanned generations (it stayed in print until 2001), since her work maintains Saint-Exupéry's story-telling spirit and charm, if not its literal accuracy.48 As of 2012[update], five additional English translations have been published:55
- T.V.F. Cuffe, (ISBN 0-14-118562-7, 1st ed. 1995)
- Irene Testot-Ferry, (ISBN 0-7567-5189-6, 1st ed. 1995)
- Alan Wakeman, (ISBN 1-86205-066-X, 1st ed. 1995)56
- Richard Howard, (ISBN 0-15-204804-9, 1st ed. 2000)2
- David Wilkinson, (bilingual English-French student edition, ISBN 0-9567215-9-1, 1st ed. 2011)
Le Petit Prince is often used as a beginner's book for French language students, and several bilingual and trilingual translations have been published. As of 2012 it has been translated into over 250 languages and dialects, including the Congolese language Alur and Sardinian, and a braille version is also available.59 It is also one of the few modern books to have been translated into Latin, as Regulus vel Pueri Soli Sapiunt.6061
In 2005, the book was also translated into Toba, an indigenous language of northern Argentina, as So Shiyaxauolec Nta'a. It was the first book translated into this language since the New Testament of the Bible. Anthropologist Florence Tola, commenting on the suitability of the work for Toban translation, said there is "nothing strange [when] the Little Prince speaks with a snake or a fox and travels among the stars, it fits perfectly into the Toba mythology."62
Linguists have compared the many translations and even editions of the same translation for style, composition, titles, wordings and genealogy. As an example: as of 2011 there are approximately 47 translated editions of The Little Prince in Korean,Note 10 and there are also about 50 different translated editions in Chinese (produced in both mainland China and Taiwan). Many of them are titled Prince From a Star, while others carry the book title that is a direct translation of The Little Prince.64
By studying the use of word phrasings, nouns, mistranslations and other content in newer editions, linguists can identify the source material for each version: whether it was derived from the original French typescript, or from its first translation into English by Katherine Woods, or from a number of adapted sources.4865
The first edition to be published in France, Saint-Exupéry's birthplace, would not be printed by his regular publisher in that country, Gallimard, until after the Second World War,1 as the author's blunt views within his eloquent writings were soon banned by the German's Nazi appeasers in Vichy France. Prior to France's liberation new printings of Saint-Exupéry's works were made available only by means of secret print runs,6667 such as that of February 1943 when 1,000 copies of an underground version of his best seller Pilote de guerre, describing the German invasion of France, were covertly printed in Lyon.68
Due to Saint-Exupéry's wartime death, his estate received the civil code designation Mort pour la France (English: Died for France), which was applied by the French Government in 1948. Amongst the law's provisions is an increase of 30 years in the duration of copyright;69 thus most of Saint-Exupéry's creative works will not fall out of copyright status in France for an extra 30 years.70
Saint-Exupéry's novella has been adapted to various media over the decades. Additionally, The Little Prince character, himself, has been adapted to a number of roles, including:
- As a symbol of environmental protection by the Toshiba Group.71
- As a "virtual ambassador" in a campaign against smoking, employed by the Veolia Energy Services Group.71
- As a character in an episode of Lost
- The video game Super Mario Galaxy has many similarities to the descriptions and pictures from the original book.71
- A 3D animated movie is being adapted starring James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Jeff Bridges.72 Mark Osborne is directing the film on a script written by Irena Brignull is expected to release in 2014.73
- In 1997, Jean-Pierre Davidts wrote what could be considered a sequel to The Little Prince, entitled Le petit prince retrouvé (The Little Prince Returns).74 In this version, the narrator is a shipwrecked man who encounters the little prince on a lone island; the prince has returned to find help against a tiger who threatens his sheep.75
- Another sequel titled The Return of the Little Prince was written by former actress Ysatis de Saint-Simone, niece of Consuelo de Saint Exupery.76
New York City's Morgan Library & Museum had previously mounted showings of Saint-Exupéry's manuscript in 1994 on the occasion of the story’s 50th anniversary of publication, as well as on the author's centennial of birth in 2000. In January 2014, running for three months until April 27, the museum has mounted a third, larger exhibition centered on the novella's creative origins and its history. The major showing, entitled The Little Prince: A New York Story, is timed to celebrate the book's 70th anniversary,46 and examines both its New York origins and the author's creative processes as his story's prose and illustrations evolved into their finished form. "The exhibition allows us to step back to the moment of creation and witness Saint-Exupéry at work..." stated the museum's director to the press.77
The new, more comprehensive exhibits include 25 of the work’s original 140 handwritten manuscript pages, with his almost illegible pencil writing scrawled onto 'Fidelity' watermarked onion skin paper. As well, some 43 preparatory watercolor paintings and pencil drawings that evolved into the story’s illustrations accompany the manuscript, many of them dampened by moisture that rippled their onion skin media.7879 One painting depicting the prince floating above the Earth wearing a yellow scarf is wrinkled, having been crumpled up and thrown away before being retrieved for preservation.7712
Shortly before departing the United States to rejoin his reconnaissance squadron in North Africa in their struggle against Nazi Germany, Saint-Exupéry appeared unexpectedly in military uniform at the door of his intimate friend Silvia Hamilton. He presented his working manuscript and his preliminary drawings in a "rumpled paper bag", tossed onto her home's entryway table, offering “I'd like to give you something splendid, but this is all I have”.7946418047 Several of the manuscript pages bear accidental coffee stains and cigarette scorch marks.12 The Morgan later acquired the 30,000 word manuscript from Hamilton in 1968, with its pages becoming the centrepieces of its exhibitions on Saint-Exupéry's work. The new exhibition also borrowed artifacts and his personal letters from the Saint Exupéry-d'Gay Estate (the d'Gay family referring to his married elder sister), plus from other private collections, libraries and museums in the U.S. and France.81 Running concurrent with its latest exhibition, the Morgan has scheduled a series of lectures, concerts and film showings, including talks by Saint-Exupéry biographer Stacy Schiff, writer Adam Gopnik, plus author Peter Sis on his new work The Pilot and The Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,8280
Also displayed are photos of the author's New York area homes, an Orson Welles screenplay of the novella the filmmaker wanted to produce as a movie in collaboration with Walt Disney,46 and one of the few signed copies extant of The Little Prince, gifted to Hamilton’s 12 year old son.Note 11 Additionally, Saint-Exupéry’s personal gourmette, his silver I.D. bracelet, is displayed near the exhibition's entrance. It was found in a fisherman’s net off the coast of France in 1998, not far from where the wreckage of his Lockheed P-38 was finally located in May 2000.4783 The salt-water tarnished bracelet bears the author’s name, as well as that of his wife Consuelo, and the 4th Avenue address of his New York City publisher, Reynal & Hitchcock.4181
- Further information: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry –Discovery at sea
- In Le Bourget, Paris, France, the Air and Space Museum of France established a special exhibit honoring Saint-Exupéry, and which displays many of his literary creations. Among them are various early editions of The Little Prince. Remnants of the Free French Air Force P-38 Lightning in which he disappeared, and which were recovered from the Mediterranean in 2004, are also on view.
- In Hakone, Japan there is the Museum of The Little Prince featuring outdoor squares and sculptures such as the B-612 Asteroid, the Lamplighter Square, and a sculpture of the Little Prince. On the museum grounds there is a large Little Prince Park featuring the Consuelo Rose Garden. However the main part of the museum are its indoor exhibits.
- In Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, there is an imitation French village, Petite France, which has adapted the story elements of The Little Prince into its architecture and monuments. There are several sculptures of the story's characters, and the village also offers overnight housing in some of the French-style homes. Featured are the history of The Little Prince, an art gallery, and a small amphitheatre situated in the middle of the village for musicians and other performances. The enterprise's director stated that in 2009 the village received a half million visitors.638485
- In 1996 the Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt unveiled an artistic arrangement consisting of seven blocks of granite asteroids 'floating' in a circle around a 2-metre tall planet Earth. The artistic universe was populated by bronze sculpture figures that the little prince met on his journeys. As in the book, the prince discovers that "the essential is invisible to the eye, and only by the heart can you really see". The work was completed at the start of 1996 and placed in the central square of Fuglebjerg, Denmark,86 but was later stolen from an exhibition in Billund in 2011.87
- During 2009 in São Paulo, Brazil, the giant Oca Art Exhibition Centre presented The Little Prince as part of 'The Year of France and The Little Prince'. The displays covered over 10,000 square metres on four floors, examining Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince and their philosophies, as visitors passed through theme areas of the desert, different worlds, stars and the cosmos. The ground floor of the exhibit area was laid out as a huge map of the routes flown by the author and Aeropostale in South America and around the world. Also included was a full scale replica of his Caudron Simoun, crashed in a simulated Sahara Desert.888990
- In 2012 the Catalan architect Jan Baca unvelied a sculpture in Terrassa, Catalonia showing the Little Prince image along the sentence "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye"91
- An asteroid discovered in 1975, 2578 Saint-Exupéry, was named after the author of The Little Prince.
- An asteroid discovered in 1993 was named 46610 Bésixdouze, which is French for "B six twelve". The asteroid's number, 46610, becomes B612 in hexadecimal notation. B-612 was the name of the asteroid the little prince lived on.
- The B612 Foundation was created to track asteroids that might pose a threat to Earth, and named in honour of the little prince's home.
- In 2003, a small asteroid moon, Petit-Prince (discovered in 1998), was named in part after The Little Prince.
- Before France adopted the euro as its currency, Saint-Exupéry and drawings from The Little Prince were on the 50-franc banknote; the artwork was by Swiss designer Roger Pfund.3892 Among the anti-counterfeiting measures on the banknote was micro-printed text from Le Petit Prince, visible with a strong magnifying glass.citation needed Additionally, a 100-franc commemorative coin was also released in 2000, with Saint-Exupéry's image on its obverse, and that of the Little Prince on its reverse.93
- In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the writer's untimely death, Israel issued a stamp honoring "Saint-Ex" and The Little Prince in 1994.94 Philatelic tributes have been printed in at least 24 other countries as of 2011.95
- The Little Prince Literary Award for Persian fiction by writers under the age of 15, commemorating the title of Saint-Exupéry's famous work, was created in Iran by the Cheragh-e Motale’eh Literary Foundation. In 2012 some 250 works by young authors were submitted for first stage review according to the society's secretary Maryam Sistani, with the selection of the best three writers from 30 finalists being conducted in Tehran that September.9697
- Several other Little Prince Awards have also been established in Europe, meant to promote achievement and excellence in a variety of fields such as in assistance to autistic children, child literacy, children's literature (by adults), puppetry theatre and theatre arts.9899100
- Prior to its decommissioning in 2010, the GR I/33 (later renamed as the 1/33 Belfort Squadron), one of the French Air Force squadrons Saint-Exupéry flew with, adopted the image of the Little Prince as part of the squadron and tail insignia of its Dassault Mirage fighter jets.101 Some of the fastest jets in the world were flown with the Little Prince gazing over their pilots' shoulders.
- List of The Little Prince adaptations, a listing of The Little Prince story adapted into various media.
- The Little Prince (film), a 1974 musical film directed by Stanley Donen
- The Little Prince (play), a theatrical adaptation
- The Little Prince (opera), an opera in two acts by Rachel Portman to an English libretto by Nicholas Wright
- The Adventures of The Little Prince (TV series), an anime series
- The Little Prince and the Aviator, a 1981 musical theatre adaptation
- Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century
- Note that although Saint-Exupéry's regular French publisher, Gallimard, lists Le Petit Prince as being published in 1946, that is apparently a legalistic interpretation possibly designed to allow for an extra year of the novella's copyright protection period, and is based on Gallimard's explanation that the book was only 'sold' starting in 1946. Other sources, such as LePetitPrince.com,1 record the first Librairie Gallimard printing of 12,250 copies as occurring on 30 November 1945.
- The first English translation by Katherine Woods was published in the United States in April 1943, approximately one week prior to its first French printing by the same publisher, Reynal & Hitchcock. Saint-Exupéry, a fiercely patriotic military pilot, had wisely fled occupied France after the German invasion of WWII and after interrogation by German authorities in Paris, and his literary works were subsequently banned by the Vichy government. Le Petit Prince would not be published in France until after its liberation, with Gallimard's first printing in November 1945.
- The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Foundation estimates an additional 80 million copies of the story in audio-video formats have been sold worldwide.9
- The plane Saint-Exupéry was flying when he crashed at high speed in the Sahara was a Caudron C-630 Simoun, Serial Number 7042, with the French registration F-ANRY ('F' being the international designator for France, and the remainder chosen by the author to represent ANtoine de saint-exupéRY).
- According to Hoffman: "Anne Morrow Lindbergh's fascination with Saint-Ex was transparent in all she wrote about him, as might be expected when one aviator-writer romantic is writing about another." Saint-Exupéry visited with Anne for a day and but spoke with Charles Lindbergh, who arrived home late, just one time, for an hour. Besides their vast differences on how Hitler and the European conflict should be treated, Charles did not speak French, and Saint-Exupéry did not speak English. Their discussions, passed through Anne's meager French, were somewhat muted. Ironically, while Saint-Exupéry was campaigning for an early U.S. entry into the war, Lindbergh strongly opposed American involvement in the European war and favored a peace treaty with Hitler, similar to Stalin's. The meeting between the two future P-38 war pilots was termed "...less than a rousing success". Moreover, Charles was not happy about his wife's vast esteem for the French adventurer."
- Another likely reason: P.L. Travers, the author of the popular children's books series on Mary Poppins, was at that time working on her third installment that would be published by a Reynal & Hitchcock competitor in 1943, the same year as The Little Prince. Saint-Ex's U.S. publisher pressed him to have a competing children's book on the market for Christmas 1942.
- Saint-Exupéry was 43 the year the fable was published, and 44 the year he died. He originally wrote the story with 43 sunsets, but posthumous editions often quote '44 sunsets' in tribute.
- Following one of his crashes in a sophisticated single-pilot spy aircraft that resulted in him being grounded, Saint-Exupéry spared no effort in his campaign to return to active combat flying duty. He utilized all his contacts and powers of persuasion to overcome his age and physical handicap barriers, which would have completely barred an ordinary patriot from serving as a war pilot. Instrumental in his reinstatement was an agreement he proposed to John Phillips, a fluently bilingual Life Magazine correspondent in February 1944, where Saint-Exupéry committed to "...write, and I'll donate what I do to you, for your publication, if you get me reinstated into my squadron."39 Phillips later met with a high level U.S. Army Air Forces press officer in Italy, Colonel John Reagan McCrary, who conveyed the Life Magazine request to General Eaker. Eaker's approval for Saint-Exupéry's return to flying status would be made "...not through favoritism, but through exception". The brutalized French, it was noted, would cut a German's throat "...probably with more relish than anybody".
- Various sources state that his final flight was either his seventh, eight, ninth, or even his tenth covert reconnaissance mission. He volunteered for almost every such proposed mission submitted to his squadron, and protested fiercely after being grounded following his second sortie which ended with a demolished P-38. His connections in high places, plus a publishing agreement with Life Magazine, were instrumental in having the grounding order against him lifted.40 For some time Saint-Exupéry's friends, colleagues and compatriots were actively working to keep the aging accident-prone author grounded, out of harm's way.
- In 2009, the director of the Village Petite France (Little France Village) in South Korea stated that there were 350 different editions of Orin Wanja (The Little Prince) in Korean, including editions in Manga.63
- The signed copy is inscribed "For Stephen, to whom I have already spoken about the The Little Prince, and who perhaps will be his friend."37
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- The Little Prince: A New York Story Exhibition, NBC video news report on the 2014 Little Prince exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum (video, 3:10) (English)
- The Little Prince excerpts and collection in 225 languages and dialects (English) & (German)
- List of different editions
- Study Guide at SparkNotes (English)
- The Museum of The Little Prince in Hakone
- A bibliography of biographical works on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (English)
- Il Piccolo Principe e Antoine De Saint-Exupéry (Italian)
- Le Petit Prince series in Indic Languages
- Enthusiast website: The Little Prince Quotations
- The Little Prince Pictures (simplified Chinese)