from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. (noun) A short narrative or tale, esp. one dealing with surprising or marvelous events.
Merimee's compactness consists rather in reducing to a nouvelle most writers would have made a roman than in focusing on a single situation in a conte.
The modern short story - as distinguished from the old conte and also from that quite insignificant kind of brief lovetale which flourished in crude American miscellanies before 1850 and came to its height of conspicuous immaturity in T.S. Arthur's stories - owed its existence to that artistic impulse which had reshaped the novel, not only bringing all its parts into harmony with a central motive but, in every part, working from within outward, for living growth rather than for accretion, substituting expansion and radiant illumination for mere extension.
The third conte, evocative ode contrasting golden beauty and horror, is an almost wordless sensuous fable about the original Hungarian vampires of the 17th century.
‘Conte’ comes from the Old French ‘conter,’ to relate, recount.