- Category : Writer
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 1/4 - Investigating / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (9,27)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 3
Prosper Mérimée (September 28, 1803 – September 23, 1870) was a French dramatist, historian, archaeologist, and short story writer. He is perhaps best known for his novella Carmen, which became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen.
Prosper Mérimée was born in Paris. He studied law as well as Greek, Spanish, English, and Russian. He was the first translator of much Russian literature in France.
Mérimée loved mysticism, history, the unusual, and mystification (in the latter he was influenced by Charles Nodier), 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.
In 1834, Mérimée was appointed to the post of inspector-general of historical monuments. He was a born archaeologist, combining linguistic faculty of a very unusual kind with accurate scholarship, with remarkable historical appreciation, and with a sincere love for the arts of design and construction, in the former of which he had some practical skill. In his official capacity he published numerous letters and reports, some of which, with other similar pieces, have been republished in his works.
Mérimée met and befriended the Countess of Montijo in Spain in 1830 whom he credited as being his source for the Carmen story. Together with the countess, he coached her daughter, Eugenie, during the courtship with Napoleon III (though his correspondence indicates Mérimée was opposed to their marriage). When the daughter became the Empress Eugénie of France in 1853, Mérimée was made a senator.
In 1841, Prosper Mérimée and his friend George Sand made a major contribution to the history of medieval art by discovering the luminous tapestries of The Lady and the Unicorn during a stay at the Château de Boussac in the Limousin district of central France, which entered immediately into history thanks to the writings of George Sand.
In 1849, Mérimée was engaged in a successful protest campaign against the demolition of the Cité de Carcassonne. Its action allows 26 February 1850 the classification of the crypt of Saint-Laurent in Grenoble as a historical monument.
Prosper Mérimée died in Cannes, France and was interred there in the Cimetière du Grand Jas.
The French national list of heritage monuments is called the Base Mérimée in his honour.