Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Aviator and the Little Prince

Today is the birthday of Antoine de Saint Exupéry who was born on this date in Lyon, France in 1900. The author and aviator disappeared in 1944, a year after he wrote the book most associated with his name, The Little Prince.

From Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac:
The Little Prince is narrated by a pilot who has crashed in the desert, where he meets a strange little boy who claims to have come from an asteroid where he took care of a single rose. The little boy asks the pilot to draw him a sheep, and the two begin a series of conversations, mainly about why it is that grownups are so difficult to get along with.

When The Little Prince came out in 1943, it didn't sell many copies. The following year, Saint-Exupéry was presumed dead when his plane disappeared while he was flying a reconnaissance mission for the Allies, divers didn't find the wreckage until 2000. After Saint-Exupéry’s disappearance in 1944, sales of The Little Prince skyrocketed. Today, it still sells more than 100,000 copies a year.
In fact, The Little Prince is one of the top 50 sell books of all time. It has sold over 50 million copies, which Wikipedia tells us puts it “at number 3 on the most printed books list, just behind The Bible and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.”


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