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Wonderful book in an altogether inadequate translation
on 23 December 2003
Richard Howard's cold, hard translation of Le Petit Prince loses all the grace and charm of the original work. Seek out Katherine Woods's original translation of this book--although she was criticized for translating the story too literally, Howard's "streamlined" version loses absolutely EVERYTHING. I've only studied French for a few years, but I've already found one word that he has mistranslated. Concerning the picture of the baobabs, Saint-Exupery uses the word "grandiose." While Woods used "magnificent and impressive," Howard replaced this with "big." Despicable. I realize he probably misread the word, but I was already unhappy with this new version as I was reading through it. The rest of his translation proved to be completely pointless. He does not come close to matching Woods.
I'm also offended that the publishers would try to replace Woods's classic translation with one that has language they consider to be more modern. Le Petit Prince was written in the 1940s with what would assumedly be French of the 1940s. Thus, wouldn't it make sense to keep it in English of the 1940s?
Please do your best to obtain a copy of a version of The Little Prince from well before 2000. Howard has no love for our little prince. His rendition of the book holds no compassion.