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Carmen and Other Stories by Prosper Merimee

Carmen and Other Stories

by Prosper Merimee

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237577,465 (3.69)2
Carmen, Merimee's classic tale of passion and power, provided the inspiration for one of the world's most enduringly popular operas, and numerous films. Like Carmen, the other stories in this book, including Mateo Falcone, The Etruscan Vase, and The Venus of Ille, explore the clash ofprimitive and civilized values. This is the only selection of Merimee's short stories available… (more)
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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.
  Jolly_Holiday | Mar 30, 2018 |
Everyone knows the basic story of 'Carmen', mostly from Bizet's opera, though probably not many non-opera lovers have actually seen the opera or read the story upon which it is based. This collection of Merimee stories is united by a common theme: the passionate and violent ethics of those peoples on the fringes of civilized Europe, i.e. the Gypsies, Basques, Corsicans, African slave traders, Lithuanians. One could say that Merimee's portrayal of these groups are cliches, but that is only after so many other writers used his portrayals as models. Some of the stories could have been shorter: Colomba for example, but overall they were worth reading. A couple of the stories have a tinge of the supernatural to them. They are eerie, weirdly sexual, fairy tales for adults. My favorite of these stories is the last one in the book called "Lokis," -- not because it is the best story, but because the confusing cultural and linguistic mixture reminded me of my own fascination with that part of the world. The narrator is a linguistics professor who is translating the Bible into low-Lithuanian and visits an estate where a rare book on low-Lithuanian language is found. Due to Lithuania's geography and history, elements from both Russian and Polish folklore and language are mixed into the story. The narrator tells of his stay at the estate of a young Count who is seemingly both in love and disdainful of a neighboring young noblewoman, his strange behavior and his tragic, family background. As the story comes to its mysterious conclusion, the tension between the folklorish elements and the telling of it by an academic gave me a weirdly satisfying feeling that despite its unresolved ending, it could not have ended any other way. ( )
2 vote Marse | Jul 22, 2014 |
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. ( )
1 vote JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Brilliant short stories cobbled together by the author from research and travelers' tales. Most explore the 19th century duality of civilization vs. primitivism. The later ones delve a bit into the fantastic as they retell ethnic tales of transformation. ( )
2 vote randoymwords | Oct 28, 2011 |
all of these stories are slightly disturbing...but in a good way ( )
1 vote sadiebooks | Jul 31, 2007 |
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Wenn man von Porto Vecchio ins Innere der Insel wandert, in nordwestlicher Richtung, steigt der Weg ziemlich rasch, und nach drei Stunden Marsch auf sich schlängelndem Saumpfad, den mächtige Felsbrocken verbauen und zuweilen Schluchten unterbrechen, steht man am Rand einer weitausgedehnten Macchia.
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