When you want to read in both French and English, though, there's a great option: bilingual books! Reading bilingual books and inferring the vocabulary and grammar is a far superior method of language learning than traditional memorization. It is also much less painful. Carmen is a novella by Prosper Merimee, written and first published in 1845. It has been adapted into a number of dramatic works, including the famous opera of the same name by Georges Bizet. Prosper Merimee (28 September 1803 - 23 September 1870) was an important French writer in the school of Romanticism, and one of the pioneers of the novella, a short novel or long short story. He was also a noted archaeologist and historian, and an important figure in the history of architectural preservation. He is best known for his novella Carmen, which became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen. He learned Russian and translated the work of several important Russian writers, including Pushkin and Gogol, into French. From 1830 until 1860 he was the inspector of French historical monuments, and was responsible for the protection of many historic sites, including the medieval citadel of Carcassonne, and the restoration of the facade of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Along with the writer George Sand, he discovered the series of tapestries The Lady and the Unicorn, and arranged for their preservation. He was instrumental in the creation of Musee national du Moyen Age in Paris, where the tapestries now are displayed. The official data base of French monuments, the Base Merimee, bears his name.