How the redoubt was taken

     From the French of Prosper Merimee

Prosper Merimee was born in 1803 and died in 1870.
His father was a painter--but Prosper started life upon a lawyer's stool.Before thirty he was made Inspector-General of Historic Monuments,and in the pleasant occupation of this office he travelled over most of Europe,and afterwards described his travels in a book.Then he began to write short stories - among them "Carmen," which the opera founded on its plot has made a household word.
These little masterpieces- he never tried his hand at a long tale - exquisite in style, and full of Life and action, gained his election to the French Academy.And he deserved his fame.He has the magic art which makes the things of fancy real as life itself, we know not how. "How the Redoubt was Taken" is in length a very little story- but to read it is to be present with the storming- party, in their mad rush to victory and death.

プロスペル・メリメ、1803年生まれ、1870年没。父親は画家だったが、プロスペルは法律を学び、1833年に文化財保護監督官に任命され、ヨーロッパ各国を巡察旅行、その体験から旅行記を著した。やがて短編小説を書き始め、「カルメン」はビゼーの歌劇として普及。長編は手掛けなかったが、メリメは短編小説で、優れた文体、鋭い洞察力、躍動的な描写によって文名を確立、フランス学士院に選出された。その名声にふさわしく、幻想的な物語をあたかも現実のように思わせるほど。「堅塁抜く(How the redoubt was taken, 1829)」はごく短い作品だが、勝利に向かって無謀に突進し、命を落とす、突撃分隊を描いている。(訳 清水 健)

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