A blog for people hooked on books, and plays, and poems, and films, and songs, and ....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince was not exactly an obvious follow on from Confederacy of Dunces but (having just re-read it) there are some links. Perhaps they are only 7 basic plots as some claim so similarities should be easy between many stories.

The two heroes are looking around at the behaviour of mankind to presumably find the best way to live your life. Each is surprised at the folly he sees. But there I have to admit defeat in seeking out any similarity. The prince is gentle and kind and thinks of others, Ignatius doesn't. The Little Prince has a very clear ending, Confederacy storms out. End of comparison.

The Little Prince may be dated (ie out of date) because of its gentleness but I found that if you can get past the first few pages and ignore that it claims to be apparently for children then it does toughen up. It looks at the battle between good and evil (written during WWII), the emptiness of wealth or power, the unfocused rushing around, the fragility of love, the pain of friendship and the search for happiness. And it ends with a Shakespearean suicide by snake bite in a starlit desert. So not totally or only addressed to children. In France this may be less relevant anyway since philosophy is a compulsory subject in schools. So philosophy may not be assumed to be only for one age group.

Almost certainly the book must be better in French: "It's a little lonely in the desert", "It's also lonely with people" and "Anything essential is invisible to the eyes". The book is full of these rather simple and true statements perfect for pinning on your student bedroom wall.

And you can read it in less time than ...... almost any other book.

papiermache for blooked


Blogger Red said...

Hi - Great to see Papiermache guest authoring on this blog (does anyone have the secret blog address for Papiermache?).
The Little Prince had a special place in our family too - I remember it written on my older brother's wall when he was a teenager! It does take almost no time to read (and unfortunately I found Conf. of Dunces took a v long time because I could easily put the book down and not bother to pick it up).
Perhaps The Little Prince was a good pre-runner to the cult of children-youngadult-adult books that have become so popular in the past decade. Although that would ignore two huge classics from 50+ years ago that fall into that category too "To Kill A Mockingbird"(espeically) and "Catcher in the Rye".

1:45 PM


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