The Little Prince

Literary translations and printed editions

Katherine Woods (1886–1968)[76] produced the classic English translation of 1943 which was later joined by several other English translations. Her original version contained some errors.[77][78] Mistranslations aside, one reviewer noted that Wood's almost "poetic" English translation has long been admired by many Little Prince lovers who have spanned generations (it stayed in print until 2001), as her work maintains Saint-Exupéry's story-telling spirit and charm, if not its literal accuracy.[67] As of 2014 at least six additional English translations have been published:[79]

  • T.V.F. Cuffe, (ISBN 0-14-118562-7, 1st ed. 1995)
  • Irene Testot-Ferry, (ISBN 0-7567-5189-6, 1st ed. 1995)
  • Alan Wakeman, (ISBN 1-86205-066-X, 1st ed. 1995)[80]
  • Richard Howard, (ISBN 0-15-204804-9, 1st ed. 2000)[2]
  • Ros and Chloe Schwartz, (ISBN 9781907360015, 1st ed. 2010)[81]
  • David Wilkinson, (bilingual English-French student edition, ISBN 0-9567215-9-1, 1st ed. 2011)

Each of these translators approaches the essence of the original with his or her own style and focus.[82][83]

Le Petit Prince is often used as a beginner's book for French language students, and several bilingual and trilingual translations have been published. As of 2014 it has been translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, including Sardinian,[84] the constructed international language of Esperanto, and the Congolese language Alur, as well as being printed in braille for visually impaired readers. It is one of the few modern books to have been translated into Latin, as Regulus vel Pueri Soli Sapiunt.[85][86] In 2005, the book was also translated into Toba, an indigenous language of northern Argentina, as So Shiyaxauolec Nta'a. It was the first book translated into this language since the New Testament of the Bible. Anthropologist Florence Tola, commenting on the suitability of the work for Toban translation, said there is "nothing strange [when] the Little Prince speaks with a snake or a fox and travels among the stars, it fits perfectly into the Toba mythology."[87]

Linguists have compared the many translations and even editions of the same translation for style, composition, titles, wordings and genealogy. As an example: as of 2011 there are approximately 47 translated editions of The Little Prince in Korean,[Note 13] and there are also about 50 different translated editions in Chinese (produced in both mainland China and Taiwan). Many of them are titled Prince From a Star, while others carry the book title that is a direct translation of The Little Prince.[89] By studying the use of word phrasings, nouns, mistranslations and other content in newer editions, linguists can identify the source material for each version: whether it was derived from the original French typescript, or from its first translation into English by Katherine Woods, or from a number of adapted sources.[67][90]

The first edition to be published in France, Saint-Exupéry's birthplace, would not be printed by his regular publisher in that country, Gallimard, until after the Second World War,[1] as the author's blunt views within his eloquent writings were soon banned by the German's Nazi appeasers in Vichy France.[91][Note 14] Prior to France's liberation new printings of Saint-Exupéry's works were made available only by means of secret print runs,[93][94] such as that of February 1943 when 1,000 copies of an underground version of his best seller Pilote de guerre, describing the German invasion of France, were covertly printed in Lyon.[95]

Commemorating the novella's 70th anniversary of publication, in conjunction with the 2014 Morgan Exhibition, Éditions Gallimard released a complete facsimile edition of Saint-Exupéry's original handwritten manuscript entitled Le Manuscrit du Petit Prince d'Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Facsimilé et Transcription, edited by Alban Cerisier and Delphine Lacroix. The book in its final form has also been republished in 70th anniversary editions by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (in English) and by Gallimard (in French).[56]

Spanish editions

After being translated by Bonifacio del Carril, The Little Prince was first published in Spanish as El principito in September 1951 by the Argentine publisher Emecé Editores.[96][97] Other Spanish editions have also been created; in 1956 the Mexican publisher Diana released its first edition of the book, El pequeño príncipe, a Spanish translation by José María Francés.[1] Another edition of the work was produced in Spain in 1964 and, four years later, in 1968, editions were also produced in Colombia and Cuba, with translation by Luis Fernández in 1961. Chile had its first translation in 1981; Peru in February 1985; Venezuela in 1986, and Uruguay in 1990.[96][98][99]

Extension of copyrights in France

Due to Saint-Exupéry's wartime death, his estate received the civil code designation Mort pour la France (English: Died for France), which was applied by the French Government in 1948. Amongst the law's provisions is an increase of 30 years in the duration of copyright;[100] thus most of Saint-Exupéry's creative works will not fall out of copyright status in France for an extra 30 years.[101][70] So the original French text is in the public domain almost everywhere in the world, except in USA[102] and in France.


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