In many ways Prosper Mérimée may be considered the founder of the modern French short story. Certainly narrative works characterized by their brevity had appeared earlier in France, all the way back to medieval fabliaux and up through eighteenth-century philosophical tales (contes philosophiques); more recently, Charles Nodier had published a number of supernatural tales (such as “Smarra ou les démons de la nuit”, 1821, and “Trilby”, 1822). But Mérimée brought to short literature a modern infatuation with psychological realism and deep characterization. These elements, combined with his uncanny …
Carpenter, Scott. "Prosper Mérimée's Short Stories". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 August 2010; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=31201, accessed 28 April 2015.]