Prosper Merimee (1803-1870) was a French dramatist, historian, archaeologist, and short story writer. He is perhaps best kwn for his vella Carmen, which became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen. He studied law as well as Greek, Spanish, English, and Russian. He was the first interpreter of much Russian literature in France. Merimee 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 he was opposed to their marriage). When the daughter became the Empress Eugenie of France in 1853 he was made a senator. His works include: Cromwell (1822), Le Theatre de Clara Gazul (1825), La Guzla (1827), La Jacquerie (1828), Colomba (1840) and Lokis (1869).