The Little Prince is an outstanding book for an adolescent to take into adulthood, for an adult who knew it and loved it, or for anyone who has never known it.
The first English translation of The Little Prince was published in the USA during the Second World War. Today is a worldwide phenomenon with 400 Million readers, 150 Million books sold and 280 official translations (World Record).
Of all the books written in French over the past century, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Le Petit Prince” is surely the best loved in the most tongues.
"There are few stories which in some way, in some degree, change the world forever for their readers. This is one."
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The Little Prince, first published in 1943, is a classic fable about a stranded pilot's encounter with a young prince who travels from planet to planet in search of knowledge.
"It emerges over time, that the little prince has traveled from his solitary home on a distant asteroid, where he lives alone with a single rose. The rose has made him so miserable that, in torment, he has taken advantage of a flock of birds to convey him to other planets. He is instructed by a wise if cautious fox, and by a sinister angel of death, the snake.
The book’s desert setting derives from the aviator Saint-Exupéry’s 1935 experience of having been lost for almost a week in the Arabian desert, with his memories of loneliness, hallucination, impending death (and enveloping beauty) in the desert realized on the page.
The book moves from asteroid to desert, from fable and comedy to enigmatic tragedy, in order to make one recurrent point: You can’t love roses. You can only love a rose." - Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry was exiled to North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth.
Beloved by generations of readers, this gentle, bittersweet fable can be a hard sell for kids: Poetic language, symbolic scenes, and philosophical discussions make it a better fit for older readers. -Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
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P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins series of children books, wrote in a Herald Tribune 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."
"One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes." said the fox to the Little Prince.
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The wide appeal of Saint-Exupéry's novella has led to it being adapted into numerous forms over the decades. The multi-layered fable, styled as a children's story with its philosophical elements of irony and paradox directed towards adults, allowed The Little Prince to be transferred into various other art forms and media, including films, stage plays, opera and ballet, a graphic novel and a pop-up book. It has also inspired artists from all around the Globe to depict their versions in illustrations and paintings.
More than 70 years after its creation, the story still inspires a new generation of artists, as you can witness in the photos in this article.
VISIT THE WORLD OF THE LITTLE PRINCE