The Hidden Well is a collection of twelve illustrations by Yan Qin Weng based on quotations from writings by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944), a French pioneering aviator, war pilot and writer. He is most well known as the author of The Little Prince, a short children’s story about childhood, adulthood, human nature and responsibility. At the end of July in 1944 he set off on his last flight and disappeared, presumably over the Mediterranean Sea. Aside from The Little Prince, he left behind a number of written works in the form of novels and letters, many of which concern his experiences as a pilot and his turmoil during the war. Written for an adult audience and therefore significantly different in tone from the endearing story The Little Prince weaves, Saint-Exupéry’s other works are nevertheless undeniably drawn from the same well. This illustration collection seeks to introduce and reflect on a small portion of those writings in order to plant seeds of curiousity and entice further exploration.
Yan Qin Weng is an illustrator with a love for stories and creating connections between word and image. The Hidden Well originated from her desire to expand the context of The Little Prince beyond asteroid B-612 into the gardens and deserts of Saint-Exupéry’s life.
Each illustration is based on a quotation from one of the following books: Wind, Sand and Stars, Flight to Arras and Wartime Writings, 1939–1944. The illustrations use imagery developed from common themes and ideas present across Saint-Exupéry’s works—such as flight—to visually capture sentimental and intellectual meaning within the quotations.
Credits / Notes
The illustrations and their relation to each quotation are personal interpretations of the illustrator and should be viewed accordingly. The illustrator is not in any way affiliated with or endorsed by persons, organisations or groups related to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Illustrations © 2012 by Yan Qin Weng
Original writing © 1939–1944 by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wind, Sand and Stars English translation © 1995 by William Rees
Flight to Arras English translation © 1995 by William Rees
Wartime Writings, 1939–1944 English translation © 1986 by Harcourt, Inc.
The Little Prince English translation © 1995 T.V.F. Cuffe
Quotations referenced as being from Wind, Sand and Stars or Flight to Arras
or The Little Prince have been extracted from the following editions respectively:
Saint-Exupéry, A. (2000), Wind, Sand and Stars, trans. W. Rees, Penguin Classics, London
Saint-Exupéry, A. (2000), Flight to Arras, trans. W. Rees, Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth
Saint-Exupéry, A. (2000), The Little Prince, trans. T.V.F. Cuffe, Penguin Classics, London
Quotations referenced as being from a letter to a recipient* have been
extracted from the following edition of Wartime Writings, 1939–1944:
Saint-Exupéry, A. (1990), Wartime Writings, 1939–1944, trans. N. Purcell, Harcourt, Inc.
Wind, Sand and Stars first published as Terre des hommes 1939
Flight to Arras first published as Pilote de guerre 1942
Wartime Writings, 1939–1944 first published posthumously as Ecrits de guerre, 1939–1944 1982
The Little Prince first published as Le Petit Prince and simultaneously
in English translation by Reynal & Hitchcock 1943
*According to the original French publisher any quotations from Wartime Writings, 1939–1944 that have been mentioned as “Letter to X” were messages sent to persons who wished to remain anonymous.