Merimese, Prosper (1803-70), a distinguished French man of letters, was born at Paris. He entered the public service, and in 1831 was appointed inspector-general of historic monuments. A personal friend of the mother of the Empress Eugenie, he was much attached to the Bonapartes, and became chief of the Ministry of Marine (1853), and president of the Commission for the Reorganisation of the Imperial Library (1858), besides being employed diplomatically. He was admitted to the Academie Francaise in 1844, and was a leading member of the Academie des Inscriptions. He died at Cannes after a lingering illness. His earliest works were a pretended Spanish comedy, and a collection of pretended Illyrian songs (Guzla). Chief among his historical works were Un Chronique de Charles IX. (1829), En Corse (1840), Monuments Historiques (1843), and Les Faux Bemetrius (1853). His fame as a writer chiefly rests upon his short stories, Contes et Nouvelles (1846), Nouvelles (1852), and Derni'eres Nouvelles (1874). His Lettres a une Inconnue, a charming and interesting autobiographical collection, were published in 1873, and succeeded in 1875 by Lettres a une autre Inconnue.