Prosper Merimee, a French author, born in Paris, Sept. 28, 1803, died in Cannes, Sept. 23, 1870. He studied law, and was received as advocate, but did not practise. In 1830 he became secretary of the count d'Argout, and successively officiated as secretary in the ministry of commerce and chief of bureau in the ministry of marine. In 1834 he succeeded M. Vitet as inspector of ancient historical monuments of France, which furnished him with the materials for several valuable archaeological works. In 1844 he was elected to the French academy, as successor of Charles Nodier. In 1848 two letters published in the Revue deaDeux Mondes on behalf of his friend Libri, who had been accused of purloining from public libraries, subjected him to an imprisonment of 15 days. In 1853 he was made a senator. He contributed to the romantic literature and drama of France the Theatre de Clara Gazul, comedienne espagnole (1825; new ed., 1865), a professed translation from the Spanish, and La Guzla (1827). a professed collection of Illyrian songs.
He wrote a series of novels, La double meprise, Oolomba, Carmen, La Jacquerie, etc., and several historical works,Among the latter are Chronique du regne de Charles IX. (1820), Histoire de Don Pedre I., roi de Castille (Paris, 1843), and Episode de I"histoire de Itussie: les faux Demetrius (1854). His Melanges his-toriques et litteraires appeared in 1855. His archaeological works are Peintures de Veglise de Saint-Savin (1845), and researches in Corsica and in the south and west of France. Several of his works have been translated into German and English. A posthumous work, Lettres a line inconnue (2 vols., Paris, 1873; English translation edited by R. II. Stoddard, New York, 1874), comprises a series of letters of travel and gossip from 1842 to Sept. 23, 1870, the last having been written two hours before his death. He left numerous manuscripts, including an autobiography, announced in 1874 as in preparation for the press.