Arts & Entertainment

The Little Prince: 80 years inspiring children, adults

Madrid, Apr 5 (EFE).- It is one of the emblematic works of French literature, but “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, first appeared in the United States in 1943, now 80 years ago.

The admiration for this seemingly simple story has not faded and 5 million copies are still sold a year today, according to the Gallimard publishing house, which managed to launch the book in France in 1946.

Since, he has continued to publish this short novel of just 120 pages that is admired by readers of all ages and parts of the world, maintains its editorial success and inspires creators who highlight its introspective character.

The novel, whose number of copies sold is incalculable, is the second most translated book in the world after the Bible, with the last one in 2022 into the Sephardic dialect of Haketi, which brings the number of official translations to 500, according to Gallimard.

The first edition in Spanish was in Argentina, in 1951. And “The Little Prince” can be read in Friulan, Romansh, Ladino, Palatino, Quechua, Konkani, Esperanto, Venetian, Languedocian Occitan, Aragonese, Basque, Galician, Catalan and Asturian.

In the text, delicately illustrated by Saint-Exupery, childhood is vindicated as a territory in which to recover the essentials and the young Prince talks about it while traveling through planets making friends.

“If it has a universal scope, it is because it deals with universal themes very simply and at the same time in great depth. Among them, perhaps the one that unites us all, which is childhood, the nostalgia of being children,” Pedro Manas, children’s literature author, told EFE.

Originally published by New York publisher Reynal & Hitchcock on Apr. 6, 1943 in English, the work deals with love represented in the fragility of a rose or friendship embodied in a fox that wishes to be tamed while instructing humanity in a crisis of values during World War II.

The adventurer and aviator Saint-Exupery wrote the novel while serving as a military pilot from New York and it would not be until 1946, after his death in a plane crash in 1944, when the book was published in a Europe already liberated from Nazism.

Only then was Leon Werth, an anarchist and Jewish journalist and writer, to whom the author dedicated the work for being his best friend, able to read it.

A fundamental part of the narration are its illustrations, original watercolors by the author that today decorate all kinds of promotional objects related to the character.

For illustrator Maria Hesse, it is “a very naive drawing that gives that aspect of returning to childhood.”

The anniversary is remembered by publishers such as Gallimard, which has launched a special collector’s edition with a limited print run of 3,000 copies. EFE


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