The Little Prince's New York twist to be featured in exhibition in city

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 11:37pm


Antoine de Saint-Exupery crafted The Little Prince in New York, mentioning the Rockefeller Centre and Long Island in one draft of the beloved children's tale - references he ultimately deleted.

That page is contained in the French author's original handwritten manuscript, which is the subject of a major exhibition at New York's Morgan Library and Museum on the 70th anniversary of the book's French publication.

"The Little Prince: A New York Story", which opens January 24, features 35 of his original watercolours and 25 pages from his heavily revised 140-page text, written in tiny script.

Some visitors may be surprised to learn that The Little Prince, which has been translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, was written and first published in New York.

"It's well documented that he wrote the book here, but it's not well known to the general public," said Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts at the Morgan.

"Because the manuscript brings you back to the moment of creation, we wanted to set the exhibition in the place and time of creation," she said. "It focuses on the emergence of this work in New York during the war. He was writing it just within miles of where this exhibition is being shown."

Saint-Exupery, a French aviator and best-selling author, didn't live to see his book published in France after the war. He died while piloting a reconnaissance flight in 1944.

The Little Prince tells the adventures of a boy who hails from a tiny asteroid no larger than a house. On his way to earth, he visits other planets and meets a king, a conceited man, a drunkard, a lamplighter and a geographer. On earth, he encounters a fox who teaches him: "What is essential is invisible to the eye."

The book's 70th anniversary has been marked in various ways in Hong Kong, where it has long been a favourite. These have included a live-action adaptation in August.