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The manuscript of the “Little Prince” exhibited in France for the first time in 2022

As part of an exhibition prepared by the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, this manuscript will cross the Atlantic for the first time.

The manuscript of Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, never shown in France, will be exhibited in Paris from February to June 2022, the Musée des arts décoratifs (MAD) announced on Wednesday. The aviator and writer had written this tale in New York and Long Island, where he was in exile, between June and November 1942.

The manuscript has not left the United States since: the author had entrusted it to a friend, Silvia Hamilton, before leaving to fight from North Africa in the spring of 1943. This friend then sold it to the Morgan Library & Museum in 1968. This private institution will lend the manuscript to MAD, which hosts the exhibition Meet the Little Prince from February 17 to June 26 in its wing of the Louvre Palace.

The exhibition will include “more than 600 pieces”, including “watercolors, sketches and drawings – for the most part unpublished – but also photographs, poems, newspaper clippings and extracts from correspondence,” the Museum said in a statement.

Posthumous success

The little Prince, which chronicles the adventures on various planets of a naive but philosophical-looking boy, is one of the greatest hits in the history of world literature. After its publication in French and English in New York in 1943, Saint-Exupéry was killed during a mission in the Mediterranean in July 1944. The author therefore knew nothing of the prodigious fate of this work published in France only in 1946. and today translated into more than 300 languages.

The manuscript was exhibited in 2014 by the Morgan Library & Museum. Originally over 30,000 words difficult to decipher, it was cut in half by a writer who sought the greatest simplicity of style possible. Its global success also owes a lot to the watercolors which illustrate it and which engraved the image of the young character in the collective memory.

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