Prosper Mérimée was a French dramatist, historian, archaeologist, and short story writer. He is perhaps best known for his novella Carmen, which became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen.Mérimée loved mysticism, history, and the unusual, and may have been influenced by Charles Nodier (though he did not appreciate his works), the historical fiction popularised by Sir Walter Scott and the cruelty and psychological drama of Aleksandr Pushkin. Many of his stories are mysteries set in foreign places, Spain and Russia being popular sources of inspiration.In 1834, Mérimée was appointed to the post of inspector-general of historical monuments. He was a born archaeologist, combining linguistic faculty of a very unusual kind with accurate scholarship, with remarkable historical appreciation, and with a sincere love for the arts of design and construction, in the former of which he had some practical skill. In his official capacity he published numerous reports, some of which, with other similar pieces, have been republished in his works.He was also responsible for several translations of Pushkin and Gogol, when they weren't known in Europe yet.