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The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944).
The novella is both the most-read and most-translated book in the French language, and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as braille), selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totalling over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the top best-selling books ever published.
After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry became exiled in North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health he produced almost half of the writings he would be remembered for, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince.
Since its first publication in the United States, the novella has been adapted to numerous art forms and media over the decades, including audio recordings, radio plays, live stage, film screen, television, ballet, and operatic works.