| Share

Prosper Mérimée

Mérimée, Prosper (prôspĕrˈ mārēmāˈ) [key], 1803–70, French author. He first wrote a collection of plays in imitation of Spanish drama, The Plays of Clara Gazul (1825, tr. 1825), and a collection of so-called Illyrian ballads, La Guzla (1827). His important historical novel, The Chronicle of the Reign of Charles IX (1829; tr. 1830, 1890), is marked by an objectivity and psychological penetration rare among the romanticists. He was master of a concise and understated style, most fully realized in his nouvelles, or long stories, for which he is best known. Outstanding examples include Colomba (1852, tr. 1853); Carmen (in Revue des Deux Mondes, 1845; as a book, 1846, tr. 1881), which was the basis of Bizet's opera; La Vénus d'Ille (1837); and Letters to an Unknown (in Revue des Deux Mondes, 1873; as a book, 1874, tr. 1874). His short story, "Mateo Falcone" (1876), is a masterpiece of the genre. A cultivated man of the world, Mérimée was a student of archaeology, a linguist who translated Russian authors into French, and a senator under the Empire. He also wrote literary and art criticism and historical studies.

See biography by A. W. Raitt (1970); study by M. A. Smith (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Literature: Biographies

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring