June 29, 1900 – Birthday of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, born June 29, 1900 was a French writer and aviator. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (in French, Le Petit Prince). He also wrote books about aviation adventures, including Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars. During World War II, he joined the Free French Forces, and disappeared on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in July 1944.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince is probably my favorite of all books. There are so many great passages to which I have referred again and again over the years. One comes about when the little prince explains to his new acquaintence the fox why he is despondent. He had fallen in love with a rose, believing she was the only one in the world.

little-prince-cannes-film-festival-7

Then he discovered to his dismay that there are many roses, and the object of his love was not unique. The fox explains that it doesn’t matter; establishing ties with one particular being changes everything:

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .

‘I am beginning to understand,’ said the little prince. ‘There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me’ . . .”

Before the fox goes, he imparts yet more wisdom to the boy:

“‘Goodbye,’ said the fox. ‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ … ‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

I recommend this book for all ages!

Published in 1943, and reprinted many times thereafter

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16 Responses to June 29, 1900 – Birthday of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  1. Care says:

    I read The Little Prince soon after starting my blog when I saw it on many a list and didn’t recall having this book be a part of my childhood. and then somewhere/somehow, I found Wind Sand and Stars and fell in love with this author. I am going to read it again for the Flashback Challenge. Happy Birthday AdS-E!

  2. BooksPlease says:

    I read The Little Prince and Wind, Sand and Stars when I was at school – we read them in French – I’ve since read them in English, my French is no longer good enough to read books like that! I thought they were marvellous – thanks for the memories!

  3. Margot says:

    It has been so long since I read this book that the details are very fuzzy. Reading your quotes helped, especially the second one. At some point I internalized the message of that quote. I try to remind myself of that when meeting people who, on first glance, I don’t like. Thanks for reminding me about this little gem of a book.

  4. Emily says:

    God, I love Le Petit Prince. Even the short quotes you pulled made me tear up. It’s my absolute benchmark of the succinct poetry childrens’ lit and fables can attain. A perfect little jewel of a book.

  5. Nymeth says:

    The Little Prince is one of my all-time favourites. I’ve always been a bit reluctant to read more of his writing for some reason, though.

  6. Frances says:

    Like Nymeth, I have not read anything else by him because The Little Prince is just perfect to me. Afraid to tamper with perfection.

    Claire of Paperback Reader posted today about the cool Googel header for today – The Little Prince. Check it out if you have not already.

  7. Jenny says:

    I can’t remember if I knew he had disappeared – how odd that I wouldn’t remember something like that! I love The Little Prince, and I think his illustrations really make the book. Apparently there’s a graphic novel now, or there’s going to be a graphic novel…can’t imagine how it will work around St. Exupery’s already-perfect illustrations.

  8. softdrink says:

    I have no memory of reading this book, although I have very vivid memories of walking by a painting of the Little Prince every school day for four years…the windows of our high school French classroom had a gorgeous painting of him from the classic cover.

  9. I remember when I first read it as a child (in Chinese), I didn’t like it at all and found it boring. Then when a re-read it in either high school or college (in English this time), I loved it.

    This is one of my all time favorites. I haven’t read it in a long, long time. I wonder what I’d get out of it if I read it now. Sometimes I worry that when I re-read a favorite, it’s not as good as I remember it…

  10. kiss a cloud says:

    I have such fond memories of The Little Prince. I used to even have a copy of it in Filipino, a language which books rarely get translated into..

  11. stacybuckeye says:

    It is an embarrassing travesty that I have not read this book. What have I been doing all these years?!

  12. Jenners says:

    Oh … this is one of my all-time favorite books!! And you picked my favorite quotes out!! I have my well-loved copy just waiting to be shared with the Little One. And may we NEVER see a hat when it is really a boa constrictor eating an elephant!

  13. Staci says:

    This is a book that I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time.. Thanks for the nudge!

  14. ack! I don’t believe we have this on our bookshelves at home. I’ll remedy that (Antoine de Saint Exupery shares a bday with our younger daughter — that’ll be my excuse to buy another book)

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