Vintage Children’s Classics is publishing French classic The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in a new translation from the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, 75 years after the fable was first published.
The Little Prince tells the tale of a mysterious, innocent and beautiful boy who appears to a pilot stranded in the desert and makes an extraordinary request. The story first appeared in 1943, having been written down by an aristocratic French aviator who soon after disappeared during a flight across the sea.
Morpurgo said that translating the story was "an extraordinarily life-affirming and joyful experience".
"I knew the book, had skimmed it often. But to translate was to delve deep, to lose oneself utterly in the mysteries of the story, into the music of the language, to try to understand every nuance ... The best of humankind is in the character of the Little Prince: the kindness, the oddness, the endless inquisitiveness, the genius of creativity. I know no character in fiction whom I would rather meet and talk to than the Little Prince. To be with him would be to get to know oneself better, to think more deeply, to see the world with fresh eyes, to live in new hope," he said.
Frances Macmillan, senior editor at Vintage Classics, said the translation had "more than a touch of magic to it" as a consequence of Morpurgo's enthusiasm for the book.
"He has remained true to Saint Exupéry’s original, capturing the spirit of the Little Prince himself with all his playfulness and wisdom, and yet somehow – delightfully for his many devoted readers – the voice is recognisably Michael Morpurgo," Macmillan expanded. "I’m sure this translation will be welcomed and valued by readers around the world, but more particularly it will be the means of bringing a classic book that is beloved across the Channel to be embraced by British readers – an act of literary mediation which could not be more timely."
Vintage's edition will be published with the original illustrations in a £9.99 hardback on 6th September 2018.