Prosper Mérimée, Carmen

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, first published in 1845, is undoubtedly Prosper Mérimée’s best known work today. Ironically, many do not know he wrote it. Numerous adaptations – including Bizet’s 1875 opera and dozens of films – have led to some neglect of Mérimée’s original. This is unfortunate, since Mérimée’s narrative is darker, more nuanced, and more complex than the majority of adaptations that tend to look to Bizet’s opera as the model. These adaptations depict Carmen as an aloof

femme fatale

and don José as a pure young man, committed to the military and devoted to his mother. Carmen slowly steers him away from his values and to a life of crime and murder. In Mérimée’s original, however, we learn early on that don José joined the military only because he had already killed a man…

1391 words

Citation: Cropper, Corry. "Carmen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 December 2006 [, accessed 28 May 2024.]

12333 Carmen 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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