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Quatre contes de Prosper Mérimée   By: (1803-1870)

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Quatre contes de Prosper Mérimée by Prosper Mérimée is a fascinating collection of four short stories that provide a unique glimpse into the intricate imagination of the author. With his masterful storytelling and vivid descriptions, Mérimée takes readers on a journey through various landscapes, historical periods, and human emotions.

Each tale within this collection stands on its own, showcasing Mérimée's versatility and ability to seamlessly transition from adventure to tragedy to romance. The first story, "Mateo Falcone," delves into the world of honor and betrayal in Corsica, painting a vivid picture of the island's rugged terrain and its people's unwavering loyalty to tradition.

In "La Vénus d'Ille," the reader is transported to the rural village of Ille, where a mysterious and malevolent statue disrupts the lives of the inhabitants. Mérimée expertly builds suspense and tension throughout, leaving readers on the edge of their seats and questioning the true nature of the supernatural.

"The Etruscan Vase" takes a different turn, delving into the world of archaeology and history. Mérimée effortlessly weaves together the modern-day fascination with ancient artifacts, a love triangle, and a touch of the supernatural. The result is a story that not only entertains but also encourages introspection on the limits of human desires and the consequences of pursuing them.

Finally, in "Tamango," Mérimée explores the complex dynamics of power, race, and colonialism. Set against the backdrop of the slave trade in the 19th century, this story follows the journey of a rebellious African slave who defies his captors in the most unexpected way. Through this tale, Mérimée challenges societal norms and highlights the resilience of the human spirit.

What sets Mérimée's writing apart in this collection is his ability to transport readers to different times and places. His attention to detail in setting and atmosphere is commendable, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and even smells of the various landscapes he depicts. Additionally, his characters are complex, at times morally ambiguous, making them relatable and intriguing.

Although this collection may not be as well-known as Mérimée's novella, Carmen, his talent as a writer shines through in Quatre contes de Prosper Mérimée. His ability to craft engaging stories that explore a range of emotions and themes is a testament to his literary prowess. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction, mystery, or romance, there is something for everyone in this diverse and captivating collection.

First Page:





Lake Forest University



This edition is intended for beginners in high schools as well as colleges. Since every instructor has his own views and methods in the matter of making the reading yield grammatical instruction, no remarks on grammar, or references to grammars, have been attempted. In order to accustom the student to the use of a dictionary, to obviate the necessity of his looking in two places for information, and to save space, the linguistic matter which usually comprises the bulk of notes has been included in the vocabulary, and the remaining material of the notes has been placed at the bottom of the page.

The inclusion of "Le Coup de pistolet, traduit de Pouchkine" as one of the "Quatre Contes de Prosper Mérimée" needs no apology, since Mérimée's version of the story is so individualized, that it has from all points of view the value of an original production.

Thanks are due Mr. Stephen H. Bush, of the Department of French in the University of Iowa, for aid in the reading of the proof sheets.



May 1, 1902.


Prosper Mérimée was born in Paris, on the 28th of September, 1803, and died at Cannes, on the 23d of September, 1870... Continue reading book >>

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