The little Prince the most famous work of the French aristocrat writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944, Mort pour la France).
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, maintaining sales of over one million copies per year worldwide. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, with sales totaling more than 200 million copies, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.
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 of France. He had traveled there on a personal mission to convince 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.
An earlier memoir by the author recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara desert. He is thought to have drawn on those same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. The novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including audio recordings, stage, screen, ballet and operatic works.
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The little Prince