One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.
- ‘Although Murdoch's novels cannot be read, strictly speaking, as romans à clef, she projected aspects of herself and her friends onto her characters, sometimes onto several characters in the same novel.’
- ‘It is the crudest roman-à-clef, glaringly derivative and creakingly obvious.’
- ‘She published several novels and memoirs, including The New Atalantis, a roman à clef (published with a Key to its characters) in which she attacked various Whigs and people of note.’
French, literally ‘novel with a key’.
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