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One of the earliest exponents of the short story, Prosper Mérimée wrote the universally-acclaimed tale Carmen, which provided the basis for one of the world's most popular operas. In addition to this classic tale, the book includes Colomba, Mateo Falcone, The Storming of the Redoubt, Tamango, The Etruscan Vase, The Game of Backgammon, The Venus of Ille and Lokis. One of the earliest exponents of the short story, Prosper Mérimée wrote the universally-acclaimed tale Carmen, which provided the basis for one of the world's most popular operas. In addition to this classic tale, the book includes Colomba, Mateo Falcone, The Storming of the Redoubt, Tamango, The Etruscan Vase, The Game of Backgammon, The Venus of Ille and Lokis.


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One of the earliest exponents of the short story, Prosper Mérimée wrote the universally-acclaimed tale Carmen, which provided the basis for one of the world's most popular operas. In addition to this classic tale, the book includes Colomba, Mateo Falcone, The Storming of the Redoubt, Tamango, The Etruscan Vase, The Game of Backgammon, The Venus of Ille and Lokis. One of the earliest exponents of the short story, Prosper Mérimée wrote the universally-acclaimed tale Carmen, which provided the basis for one of the world's most popular operas. In addition to this classic tale, the book includes Colomba, Mateo Falcone, The Storming of the Redoubt, Tamango, The Etruscan Vase, The Game of Backgammon, The Venus of Ille and Lokis.

30 review for Carmen and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    antiquarian reverie

    When I read a story, I will write the review under the title. This Kindle version is fantastic with footnotes and easy navigation which is important to Kindle readers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    I love bad bitches, that's my fuckin' problem - Prosper Mérimé-... er, A$AP Rocky Mérimée loves bad bitches. Namely Carmen, Colomba, and the statuesque Venus d'Ille - the heroine-antagonist-exotics of his best stories in this collection. More generally, Mérimée is fascinated in his fiction by the clash between the civil and the savage. A champion of the ruffian hero, Mérimée's stories notably take place outside of his native France, in Spain, Italy, the sea: places which to him are still imbued wi I love bad bitches, that's my fuckin' problem - Prosper Mérimé-... er, A$AP Rocky Mérimée loves bad bitches. Namely Carmen, Colomba, and the statuesque Venus d'Ille - the heroine-antagonist-exotics of his best stories in this collection. More generally, Mérimée is fascinated in his fiction by the clash between the civil and the savage. A champion of the ruffian hero, Mérimée's stories notably take place outside of his native France, in Spain, Italy, the sea: places which to him are still imbued with mystery and mysticism. Mérimée was an early exponent of the short-story as a true literary form, and though some of his stories are a bit uneven (notably, his most famous "Carmen"), they are exemplary of the form which has become almost universal to literary authors, and went began the tradition later perfected by Guy de Maupassant. While I would argue that "Colomba" is the better-crafted story, albeit much longer, Mérimée's "Carmen" has lasted the test of time, notably immortalized by Bizet into an opera by the same name. "Carmen" nonetheless is a captivating illustration of love, crime, violence, and the Mériméan clash between civility and savagery. As a strong influence on Lolita, notably in the strange blur between love and Machiavellian seduction-deceit, and also in the tale-told-from-prison frame, "Carmen" is both provocative and unreliable in narration. The story follows a traveller from France, a sort of literary stand-in for Mérimée on his travels in Spain, when he happens upon a ruffian, Don José, and helps him escape the authorities. He later finds him again, as the lover of a beautiful gypsy, Carmen. They separate again, and the next time they meet, Don José is in prison, having murdered his love. Though the story is quite good, Carmen is more famous and more memorable than her titular tale. The story serves more to romanticize and immortalize the exotic allure of the gypsies than it does to make a memorable story. Carmen has become symbolic of jealous love, an early adumbration of Tolstoy's "Kreuntzer Sonata." Don José's love for Carmen seems tenuous, we wonder how real the love can be, being one-sided as it is. It is not clear how Carmen feels about the Don, we hear about her mostly from his perspective, though it seems that her affection for him is largely sexual pragmatism. But that may be from a difference in view of love: while love is typically perceived in the Western-civilized tradition of love-of-my-life devotion, Carmen's love is like a bird, alighting only for odd moments on the men in her life, a love which is passionate and full, free of jealousy, pure, but which is short-lived. 'Yes, I have loved him—as I loved you—for an instant—less than I loved you, perhaps. But now I don't love anything, and I hate myself for ever having loved you.' I cast myself at her feet, I seized her hands, I watered them with my tears, I reminded her of all the happy moments we had spent together, I offered to continue my brigand’s life, if that would please her. Everything, sir, everything—I offered her everything if she would only love me again. She said: 'Love you again? That's not possible! Live with you? I will not do it!' Carmen is a free spirit, but traditionally defined love is a shackle, a cage, which she feels suffocated by. She loves in the moment, but José demands eternity from her. Despite Carmen's deceptions and tricks, her crimes and abandonments, we sympathize with her, much moreso than with the Don. Carmen has a freedom which we all envy, but which we consciously let elude us. We are afraid of the kind of freedom and detachment which Carmen needs to live. Despite his rough exterior, José is far more civilized and chained to tradition than Carmen, and we see him at the end not as a hidalgo, but as a modern man, given up to his passions, but afraid to follow them to their fruition. While he represented as an early symbol of freedom, to the narrator on his travels, a kind of idealized and Romantic figure, he is reduced at the end to a prisoner. The prison is symbolic of his own imprisonment, he self-styled cage of his conventions and expectations, which withhold him from true happiness in the moment with Carmen. Though Carmen is murdered, it feels to us like a freer and more appropriate fate for her than marriage, which seems to us impossible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lukáš Palán

    Bonžur. Prosper Merime byl úspěšný bagetový spisovatel a proto se podle něj dodnes říká "prosperovat." Mezi jeho nejúspěšnější valby patří Carmen, která je o čmafítě ze Španělska, která umí špiónovat, krást, ale hlavně - je veselá mezi nohama. Do svého pohlavního televarieté postupně stáhne i Chosého Tortillu de la Nachos (možná si to jméno nepamatuji přesně, milý čtenáři), který se omámen její krásou vydá na dráhu zločinu. Bonnie a Clyde dos Burritos Churos tak úspěšně okrádají bohaté anglány, m Bonžur. Prosper Merime byl úspěšný bagetový spisovatel a proto se podle něj dodnes říká "prosperovat." Mezi jeho nejúspěšnější valby patří Carmen, která je o čmafítě ze Španělska, která umí špiónovat, krást, ale hlavně - je veselá mezi nohama. Do svého pohlavního televarieté postupně stáhne i Chosého Tortillu de la Nachos (možná si to jméno nepamatuji přesně, milý čtenáři), který se omámen její krásou vydá na dráhu zločinu. Bonnie a Clyde dos Burritos Churos tak úspěšně okrádají bohaté anglány, možná ještě efektivněji, než číšníci a taxikáři v Praze, ale bohužel, láska, zločin, žárlivost a cigánská krev jde dohromady jako já, Becherovka a záchod - a tam vždy dojde ke katastrofě. 8/10 Další povídky byly taky slušný, především proto, že v nich Prosper kácel postavy jako v nějakým hororu. To je na těch starších knížkách to nejlepší, všichni umřou. Bezpochyby jedna z nejlepších lidských vlastností. Celkově 7/10

  4. 5 out of 5

    kingshearte

    The first in a line of modern masters of the short story, Prosper Mérimée (1803-70) wrote about the dark forces at work beneath civilization's thin veneer. In Carmen (1845), the tale from which Bizet's famous opera was drawn, Mérimée created a classic literary type: the femme fatale, who exploits her sexuality and air of mystery to ensnare and ultimately destroy the unwary. Like Carmen, his other 'long' tale, Colomba, mingles violent action and local colour with an ironic narrative style; Colomba The first in a line of modern masters of the short story, Prosper Mérimée (1803-70) wrote about the dark forces at work beneath civilization's thin veneer. In Carmen (1845), the tale from which Bizet's famous opera was drawn, Mérimée created a classic literary type: the femme fatale, who exploits her sexuality and air of mystery to ensnare and ultimately destroy the unwary. Like Carmen, his other 'long' tale, Colomba, mingles violent action and local colour with an ironic narrative style; Colomba herself is a protagonist of chilling power even greater perhaps than Carmen's. This selection includes five short stories written in 1829-30, chosen to show Mérimée's supreme ability to explore the contrast between primitive and civilized values. In Mateo Falcone, a Corsican's conception of honour forces him to exact a ruthless revenge; The Storming of the Redoubt describes an incident in Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign; Tamango depicts a revolt of Negro slaves; The Etruscan Vase is a tale of passionate jealousy set in Paris; The Game of Backgammon is a study in fatal remorse. Mérimée's own favourite among his stories, The Venus of Ille, is a brilliant tale of the supernatural; Lokis, the last story in this selection, is set in the forests of Lithuania and represents the fiction Mérimée wrote in old age. OK, well, let's do this in the order presented above. Carmen: I wasn't really that enamoured with either her or the story. I didn't find her that enthralling, and the dude wasn't that sympathetic, either. I seem to recall that in the opera, he actually kills her in a passionate moment of frenzy, right outside the bullring, and I think that's a better way than the almost calm, matter-of-fact way he does it in the original. I'm really not doing so well lately on originals vs. adaptations here... Colomba: I liked this one. I don't know that I would necessarily go so far as to say that Colomba has "chilling power," but I liked her better than I liked Carmen, and I liked the whole story better too. It didn't end quite the way I expected, either, wich is always kind of fun. This was the second-last story in the collection, and up to that point, they'd all ended badly, so I was entirely expecting this one too as well. Things mostly worked out OK, though, so that was kind of nice, as I actually liked the characters, and was pleased to see things turn out for them. Mateo Falcone: Didn't leave much of an impression on me. There was honour and ruthless revenge, and that was that. The Storming of the Redoubt: This one was very short, and I'm not too sure what the point was. It was more like a short battle scene out of a larger context. Tamango: Stories about slaves are always a little sad, although frankly, I feel a little less sad about the fate of a guy who makes a living selling his own people into slavery. The sense of futility was quite well conveyed though, with the slaves successfully managing to overthrow their captors, only to realize that they have no sea skills, leading to their getting lost at sea and ultimately all dying anyway. Dying free, I guess, which is perhaps an improvement over the alternative, but dying of starvation and dehydration is really never good, no matter what angle you look at it from. The Etruscan Vase: This one did not end well, and that made me sad, because it almost did, and I actually quite liked the protagonist. Human folly at its best (or worst, really, I suppose) leads to the poor dear's undoing. The Game of Backgammon: Another downer, but interesting in the way he uses the framing device. A number of his stories start and end with someone telling a story, but this one brings the frame back before the story is over. Something happens in "real life," if you will, leading to the story's being broken off so you never actually get to find out how it ends. The Venus of Ille: There was a little Frankenstein in here, a little Tim Burton's Coprse Bride, and I want to say at least a little of something else I've heard before. It was very reminiscent of a sort of folk tale, maybe, an old legend that we've heard in various incarnations throughout our lives. Who knows, though? Maybe this was the original. Lokis: This one was a little odd. It too ends quite abruptly, but not in quite the same way as the other. You basically do get to the end of the story, but there are quite a number of unanswered questions at that point. It seems like there might be a supernatural element, but that's never entirely clear, or it could just be an insanity story, but that's not entirely clear either. I liked it, though. It kept me interested in what was going to happen, so that's good. Generally, I'm not a big fan of short stories, but for the most part, these ones were pretty decent. Still, though, I prefer to have my stories told in their full context and everything, rather than just quick little snapshots of a moment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mina

    This anthology contains: Carmen A novella about true love, though one is infatuated and the other indifferent First, I should have written this in French, but I have a while to go yet so I hope you'll bear with me. To this day, the female seducer is a negative symbol: Venus/Aphrodite, Lillith, sirens, succubi. Godly or demonic, lore presents their power as most sordid. Carmen is of their ilk, but human, vibrant and alive. Therein lies her charm, for one alive is to be bound by humanity. Thus, her fo This anthology contains: Carmen A novella about true love, though one is infatuated and the other indifferent First, I should have written this in French, but I have a while to go yet so I hope you'll bear with me. To this day, the female seducer is a negative symbol: Venus/Aphrodite, Lillith, sirens, succubi. Godly or demonic, lore presents their power as most sordid. Carmen is of their ilk, but human, vibrant and alive. Therein lies her charm, for one alive is to be bound by humanity. Thus, her foolish lover expects the goddess, but restrained by the weaknesses of her form and dependent of the rules society made to protect her. Yet Carmen is not only as free as the wind, but strong and independent also, and for reasons unknown doesn't fall in love with the designated 'Prince Charming'. He claims it is the fault of her upbringing, but what would that mean? 'nurture' needs 'nature' and upbringing is bound to create conflict if turned on the wrong temper. If one is to love, after falling in love, it is at the conflicts inside the other, not the conflicts between the two, one should look. Mateo Falcone A short story about the facets of honor. One might say there is really only one kind and it's already perishing from this brand new world and for me and that person there are little stories like this one which makes you ask "what else could he have done?" Honor is a code that is enforced by one's pride and fear, that cherishes integrity and allows dignity. It is not a perfect world, ours and the dominion of law and conscience bring more security than the coin toss of whether the local who's strongest is also wisest, but the same conscience and law dictate that he live blemished by the festering mark of his weakness and shame. L'Enlèvement de la redoute Venus d'Ille There is a certain romanticism in a statue that kills those who play at love, though the symbolism of a black Venus with white eyes seems to raw for my taste, demon-like, really. This expression is enforced by her facial expression, described as wicked (while extremely beautiful). If anything, this Venus inspires a feeling of the inevitable and perhaps this is where the 'horror' lies. Otherwise, if I were to go for some black humor I'd say this short story is a jab at feminists, though it appeared long before the Suffrage.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    In the 2003 Spanish film "Carmen"(there have been almost 2 dozen film renditions of Prosper Merimee's 1845 story - plus Bizet's opera!!), I am curious as to how many liberties have been taken. Which is why I need to reread the story "Pain and love are our eternal teachers," says Prosper Merimee to Don Jose as he visits him in prison where he awaits garroting for murdering his own Great Love, Carmen.(Trouble was the feeling was not mutual. Carmen prefers Death to abandoning her own Will. She accep In the 2003 Spanish film "Carmen"(there have been almost 2 dozen film renditions of Prosper Merimee's 1845 story - plus Bizet's opera!!), I am curious as to how many liberties have been taken. Which is why I need to reread the story "Pain and love are our eternal teachers," says Prosper Merimee to Don Jose as he visits him in prison where he awaits garroting for murdering his own Great Love, Carmen.(Trouble was the feeling was not mutual. Carmen prefers Death to abandoning her own Will. She accepts ,urges Jose to kill her...in a church.)And Jose has been prepared to kill any man who comes between him and his Love eg.Carmen's husband,aided by Carmen herself as well as the Toreador who survives in the opera. There is such fatalism, such a determination to keep to the script,such unflinching passion in these Spanish characters. But is it in the book? It all worked well in the film, and Merimee was certainly in his own story!!! I've only seen Colette apppear in her own stories.I'd forgotten Merimee. Somerset Maughn appears in his novel "The Razor's Edge" come to think of it. It's an approach I like. Who else does this??

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    En tidigare upplaga, eftersom jag köpte den i Frankrike sommaren 1982. Titelnovellen liknar inte operan särskilt mycket. Men det är intressant att läsa dessa noveller från 1840-talet. Trots de pittoreska miljöerna och intrigerna, känns hans stil realistiskt klar.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arun

    Took me most of the book to really get into it but it was quite entertaining and funny by the end, especially considering these stories are nearly 200 years old

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've only read Lokis, but I loved it. I liked its gothic feel and of course the werebear. I've only read Lokis, but I loved it. I liked its gothic feel and of course the werebear.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason Furman

    Some long stories and novellas from Prosper Mérimée, evidently representing much of the literary output in a career devoted to many other pursuits. The stories were all filled with drama, excitement, exoticism, betrayal, greed, death, and all the other elements of great opera--exemplified by the title story, Carmen, but also many of the others would lend themselves to similar operatic treatment. All of them enjoyable as adventure stories, probably none of them particularly insightful about real Some long stories and novellas from Prosper Mérimée, evidently representing much of the literary output in a career devoted to many other pursuits. The stories were all filled with drama, excitement, exoticism, betrayal, greed, death, and all the other elements of great opera--exemplified by the title story, Carmen, but also many of the others would lend themselves to similar operatic treatment. All of them enjoyable as adventure stories, probably none of them particularly insightful about real human psychology.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    favorite stories: Carmen (bari crallisa!) The Etruscan Vase (amusing) The Game of Backgammon (love sucks and so do liars) Colomba (vivacious femme fatale story; reminds me of the ladies from House Martell) Lokis (a stark contrast to the other stories, great 'wtf' factor) in comparison to Stendhal, especially since these two were buddies, you can see some similarities but in my opinion, Stendhal is a much more enjoyable read. if you like the opera Carmen, the short story alone (which is accessible onli favorite stories: Carmen (bari crallisa!) The Etruscan Vase (amusing) The Game of Backgammon (love sucks and so do liars) Colomba (vivacious femme fatale story; reminds me of the ladies from House Martell) Lokis (a stark contrast to the other stories, great 'wtf' factor) in comparison to Stendhal, especially since these two were buddies, you can see some similarities but in my opinion, Stendhal is a much more enjoyable read. if you like the opera Carmen, the short story alone (which is accessible online, just Google it) is a good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Rock

    An absolutely fabulous edition of Prosper Mérimée stories filled to the brim with appendixs and explanatory notes. The stories themselves have lost some of their exotic flair they were written in a time when people seldom travelled beyond own countries boarders, however what they do offer is an excellent look at the past of the countries where Mérimée tales are set for both morden locals and foreigners

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kalen

    I'm not an automatic fan of the short story form, but I have to say I really enjoyed these. There was something about the passionate tales combined with the slightly cool French style that I found very satisfying. And if you read "Carmen" and listen to the 1915 recording of the opera that was recently released, it will make you re-think this particular warhorse. I'm not an automatic fan of the short story form, but I have to say I really enjoyed these. There was something about the passionate tales combined with the slightly cool French style that I found very satisfying. And if you read "Carmen" and listen to the 1915 recording of the opera that was recently released, it will make you re-think this particular warhorse.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Carmen starts of well, with an elaborate framing structure, a strong sense of adventure, and an engaging narrative voice. Eventually, though, the narrow sensationalism of the femme fatale theme wears thin. Merimee’s novella is notable for its bold--for the era--use of sex and violence.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I just started reading Carmen today even though it has been on my shelf for over four years. It's a great story and I cannot put it down. Then again I like the opera, so it is fun to see the original story. READ IT! I just started reading Carmen today even though it has been on my shelf for over four years. It's a great story and I cannot put it down. Then again I like the opera, so it is fun to see the original story. READ IT!

  16. 5 out of 5

    John

    Carmen, Etruscan Vase and Mateo Falcone are my favourites. Classic French literature from the court of Napoleon III.... just what every household should have!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Hobbs

    Read so far: Carmen --3 Mateo Falcone --3 The storming of the redoubt --2 Tamango -- The Etruscan vase -- The game of backgammon -- The Venus of Ille --3 Columba -- Lokis--

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bruno

    Lees het gewoon. 70 bladzijden, in deze versie, inclusief voetnoten en illustraties.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    As you would expect from a collection of works, some are better than others, but I'd say there were more hits than misses. As you would expect from a collection of works, some are better than others, but I'd say there were more hits than misses.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, qui nul ne peux apprivoiser L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, qui nul ne peux apprivoiser

  21. 5 out of 5

    poesielos

    Die Venus von Ille hat mir noch einigermaßen gefallen, aber den restlichen Novellen konnte ich gar nichts abgewinnen :/

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Violand

    Carmen: A likable woman who doesn't know she is a fallen one. Selfish, yet determined, Carmen attracts men like nectar attracts bees. And she knows the power she wields. A good read. Carmen: A likable woman who doesn't know she is a fallen one. Selfish, yet determined, Carmen attracts men like nectar attracts bees. And she knows the power she wields. A good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    A gypsy love story, full of...gypsies and love.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luluthine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barfly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  27. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laurent Runacher

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bookpict

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