Prosper Mérimée (September 28, 1803 - September 23, 1870) was a French dramatist, historian, archaeologist, and short story writer.
One of his stories was the basis of the opera Carmen.
Prosper Mérimée was born in Paris, France. He studied law as well as Greek, Spanish, English, and Russian. He was the first interpreter of much Russian literature in France.
Mérimée loved mysticism, history, and the unusual, and was influenced by the historical fiction popularised by Sir Walter Scott and the cruelty and psychological drama of Aleksandr Pushkin. Many of his stories are mysteries set in foreign places, Spain and Russia being popular sources of inspiration.
Mérimée met and befriended the Countess of Montijo in Spain in 1830. When her daughter became the Empress Eugenie of France in 1853 he was made a senator.
Prosper Mérimée died in Cannes, France.
- Cromwell (1822) - his first play.
- Le Théâtre de Clara Gazul (1825) - a hoax, supposedly a translation by one Joseph L'Estrange of work written by a Spanish actress.
- La Guzla (1827) - another hoax, ballads about various mystical themes proportedly translated from the original Illyrian by one Hyacinthe Maglanowich.
- La Jacquerie (1828) - dramatic scenes about a peasant insurrection in feudal times.
- La Chronique du temps de Charles IX (1829) - a novel about French court life.
- Mosaïque (1833) - a collection of short stories.
- Notes de voyages (1835-40) - describing his travels through Greece, Spain, Turkey, and France.
- Colomba (1840) - his first famous novella, about a young Corsican girl who forces her brother to commit murder for the sake of a vendetta.
- Carmen (1846) - another famous novella describing an unfaithful gypsy girl who is killed by the soldier who loves her (made into an opera by Georges Bizet in 1875).
- Lokis (1869) - exploring supernatural themes.
- La Chambre bleue (1872) - also with a supernatural bent.
- Lettres à une inconnue (1874) - a collection of letters from Mérimée to Jenny Dacquin, published after his death.