Author. A French dramatist, archaeologist, and short story writer, he is probably best remembered for his novella "Carmen" (1845) that later became the basis of Georges Bizet's 1875 opera by the same name. As a young man, he studied law and several languages, including Greek, Russian, Spanish, and English and was the first translator of a large part of Russian literature in France. In 1830 he became friends with the Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, the Countess on Montijo, whom he credited for being his inspiration for "Carmen." He tutored her daughter, Eugenie, during her courtship with French President (and later Emperor) Napoleon III and when she became Napoleon's wife, he was made a senator. In 1834 he became the inspector-general of French historical monuments. In 1841 he, along with French novelist George Sand, rediscovered the medieval tapestries of "The Lady and the Unicorn" while staying at the Chateau de Boussac in Limousin, France, which amounted to a major contribution to medieval art history. His other notable works include "La Guzla, ou Choix de Poesies Illyriques recueillies dans la Dalmatie, la Croatie et l'Herzegowine" (1827), "Mateo Falcone" (1829), "La Venus d'Ille" (1837), "Colomba" (1840), and "Lokis" (1869). He died at the age of 66. The French national list of heritage monuments is named the Base Merimee in his honor.
Bio by: William Bjornstad