For all of us who spent our childhoods discovering new worlds with Antoine de Saint-Exupery‘s Little Prince, there’s a little more to be uncovered yet. According to an AP report, draft pages of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince “that may shed new, political insight on the classic book” have been discovered in a private collection in Paris, and are set to go up for auction next week.
“The first page contains a piece of text that’s partly retained in chapter 19 of the published work,” AP reports. “But the second leaf of the work is completely original. The little prince arrives on Earth and meets the first person on the planet, a completely new character, who’s described as an ‘ambassador of the human spirit.’ This ‘ambassador’ is almost too busy to speak to his inquisitive interlocutor, saying he’s looking, in vain, for a missing six-letter word. The meaning of this is not immediately clear.”
A closeup of the pages. Photo credit: Remy de la Mauviniere
However, according to 20th century manuscript expert (and “Saint-Exupery enthusiast”) Olivier Devers, “He was a dreamer, he dealt with the war by floating up and dreaming. The six-letter word the ‘ambassador’ is looking for but can’t find has a humanist meaning. If you look at the context, you see that the word he can’t find is ‘guerre,’ (or ‘war’). It’s even more powerful because he doesn’t say it.”
[via Moby Lives]