Written in New York City by a Frenchman who did not speak a word of English, Le Petit Prince was published in America three years before it appeared in France. Saint-Exupéry himself did not live to see the book hit shelves in his native land; he disappeared in 1944, while flying a reconnaissance mission against Germany. Over 50 years later, his ID bracelet washed up in a fisherman’s net off the coast of Marseille.

“Of course it’s a French story,” says Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts at the Morgan. “But it was born in New York when author was an ex-patriot and distraught about what was going on in his country and in the world.”


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