Everyone has at least once read or heard of that legendary title called Little Prince. The book was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery who was a French aristocrat and a pioneering aviator. The book has entered the history of the world’s literature as a modern classic that speaks of an encounter with a child within us that has long been lost. We all know what happened to the little prince and how his story ended. But behind the book, there are many interesting facts which we are going to elaborate on:
Facts About Little Prince And His Creator
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery really did experience a plane crash. The one that inspired the Little Prince to be written took place on December 30, 1935, when Antoine together with his mechanic-navigator crashed in the Libyan desert while trying to break the speed record for the Paris-Saigon flight route and win the prize 150 Francis.
- The Little Mermaid was another place where Antoine found inspiration for writing little prince.
- The Little Prince was written in the U.S. It was so because in 1940 Germany conduced demobilization over French forces. Antoine went to North America over Portugal. This was more of a self-exile and Antoine wanted to be allowed to fly for the U.S. and fight the Nazis.
- The famous rose was inspired by Consuelo, the wife of a writer. In 1931, Saint-Exupéry got married. It was his first marriage and his wife was Salvadoran writer and artist Consuelo Suncin.
- Saint-Exupery both wrote and illustrated the little prince all by himself.
- The protagonist of the book, an aviator whose plane crashes in the desert, isn’t depicted anywhere in the book.
- Orson Welles, an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer was enchanted by the story. Just one day after reading it that he bought the film rights. Orson intended to work with Walt Disney and had even asked Disney to handle the special effects. However, Welles and Disney weren’t so good collaborators. Disney believed that this kind of film would upstage his own work, and reportedly stormed out of a meeting yelling, “There is no room on this lot for two geniuses.”
- Saint Exupery dropped the little prince manuscript at his friend before rushing to the military. The manuscript had a form of 140 hand-written pages and sketches. His handwriting could be barely read and was full of coffee stains and cigarette scorch marks.
- Saint Exupery didn’t live to see his book published in his home country of France. On 31 July 1944, he went to reconnaissance flight and never came back.
- The little prince has been translated into over 250 languages.
- Besides many other rewards he was given in French, Antoine also won the United States National Book Award.
- Before World War II Antoine was a successful commercial pilot who did airmail routes in Europe, Africa, and South America.
- The writer’s works posthumously made him a national hero in France.
- The little prince is a novel about suicide. It ends with a boy allowing a deadly snake to bit him so he can return to where he came from.
- Characters from the little prince were inspired by Antoine’s real-life friends and their pets. Sheep, for example, had a muse in a poodle.
- What is very interesting is that the Little Prince travels over seven planets. While the book has nothing to do with religions according to Christianity 7 is the perfect number.
- Antoine Saint-Exupery was a very undisciplined pilot. He would often scribble on his papers during the flight and would sometimes decline to land with the plane before finishing the novel he was reading.
- Antoine was accused of collaborating with Nazis which enhanced both his drinking problems and depression.
- Antoine was born in Lyon as the third of five children of viscountess Marie de Fonscolombe and Viscount Jean de Saint-Exupéry. They were Catholics and their family linage could be traced several centuries back.
- Antoine lost his father due to a stroke before he was 4 years old. At the age of 15, his blond-haired brother died of rheumatic fever.
- In 1988, the fishermen named Jean-Claude Bianco found a silver identity bracelet bearing the names of Saint-Exupery, his wife Consuelo, and his American publisher, Reynal & Hitchcock. The discovery took place south of Marseille.
- The street in which Antoine was born now carries his name.
- The Aviator is the title of the first novel written by Saint-Exupery.
- Religion isn’t mentioned in little prince. But Antoine was born and raised in a catholic family.
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Story of Desert Crash
As we have already said, on December 30, 1935, during his attempt to break the speed record in the Paris-to-Saigon air race, Antoine de Saint-Exupery and his mechanic navigator Andre Prevot crashed in the Lybian desert. The place of the crash was probably Wadi Natrun valley near the Nile Delta.
They were very short on supplies and their maps were ambiguous, to say the least. They had no idea of their location. What ensued were dehydration and hallucinations.
Their supplies consisted of some little grapes, two oranges, a madeleine, a pint of coffee in a battered thermos, and a little of white wine in another. Besides that, they had medicines or, to be more precise, a hundred grams of 90% alcohol, the same of pure ether, and a little bottle of iodine.
Their fluids could last only one day. As time passed their mild hallucinations started becoming more and more vivid. On the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel stumbled upon them. He implemented a native dehydration treatment and saved their lives.
This experience did not only serve as a muse for the little prince. In 1939 it resulted in the writing and publishing of his memoir – Wind, Sand and Stars, winner of several awards.
The Disappearance of The Writer
On July 31, 1944, Antoine de Saint-Exupery went on his last flight from which he never returned. It was the reconnaissance mission in which he took off from Corsica with a goal to scout and collect intelligence about the German troops in the area of Rhone valley.
There are multiple assumptions about his disappearance. One of them is that he was shot. It was war after all and there was a high possibility that the Nazis brought down the plane. Another one is that he lost control over the plane and fell into the sea.
This is also very likely because he was given a new plane much more sophisticated than the ones he got used to. And the third possibility is that he committed suicide. This is assumed due to a fact that he had problems with depression that severely enhanced when he was accused of collaborating with the Nazis.
But the suicide is tightly connected with the way little prince ends. The whole book is very sad and intertwined with threads of quiet suffering. The mental state that allowed such a masterpiece to be created was was tightly bond to the above-mentioned depression. Having his name slandered like that could have been the last drop in the glass already full.
The writer could have easily decided to bring his plane down into the sea and disappear. This, however, became a matter of dispute because many believe how a man raised in a catholic family wouldn’t dare to commit such an act so easily. Yet most of the artisans, after all, are free spirits.
It’s not rare to see them go in the exact opposite directions of religions and other institutions that seek to establish a certain vision of order. The same could apply to Antoine.