Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rereading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (translated by Richard Howard)

The Little PrinceOnce when I was six I saw a magnificent picture in a book about the jungle, called True Stories. It showed a boa constrictor swallowing a wild beast. Here is a copy of the picture. (Sorry that I can't copy it).

"Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures." The Little Prince is a strange little book, but it is also amazing. Actually, the first opera I ever saw was an adaption of The Little Prince, and I first read the book soon after.                                                                                       

As I said, the writing of The Little Prince is somewhat odd, but also endlessly inventive. The book tells of the prince's adventures on his own planet, with the special rose that he finds and raises, to the strange other planets that he visits before finally coming down into the African desert and meeting the crashed pilot who narrates the story. 

The Little Prince is full of whimsy and charm, and is a lightning fast read. It probably took me about twenty minutes (at most) to read. I think my favorite section of the book is when the prince has left his planet, and is visiting many of the other small planets. On various different planets live a king who has no subjects, a drunkard who drinks to forget that he's ashamed of drinking, a business man who owns the stars but doesn't do anything with them, a geographer who doesn't know what formations are on his own planet, and a lamp-lighter who must put out and light the lamps once a minute because his planet's rotation. All adults, of course. After the prince visits each of them, he remarks that adults are so very, very strange. 

The Little Prince is a fable of sorts, and an excellent one at that. I don't Love it with a capital L, but I did really enjoy rereading this little book. I may try some of Saint-Exupery's other novels, like Night Flight.

Read The Little Prince:
  • if you like children's (and adult's) classics
  • if you like French literature
  • if you like easy but thought-provoking fiction
83 pages, 4.5 stars.


  1. I absolutely loved this book! I think I still do. It is really touching. I read it in French. -Hang

  2. I loved this book! I read it in French.