roman à clef

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ro·man à clef

 (rō-mäN′ ä klā′)
n. pl. ro·mans à clef (rōmäN′ zä klā′)
A novel in which actual persons, places, or events are depicted in fictional guise.

[French : roman, novel + à, with + clef, key.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

roman à clef

(rɔmɑ̃ a kle)
n, pl romans à clef (rɔmɑ̃ a kle)
(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a novel in which real people are depicted under fictitious names
[literally: novel with a key]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

roman à clef

1. A French phrase meaning novel with a key, used to mean a novel in which real people are described but under false names.
2. A story based on real characters and events known to the author, but presented under fictitious names.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.roman a clef - a novel in which actual persons and events are disguised as fictional characters
novel - an extended fictional work in prose; usually in the form of a story
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations

roman à clef

nSchlüsselroman m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
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References in periodicals archive ?
"The Girl in the Book" zigzags absorbingly back and forth In time to weigh the impact on a young woman of her formative relationship with a much older writer--one he used as fodder for the roman a clef that defined his career.
A Verse to rime, Roman a Clef, or Chronickle of Synn.
The 1985 play is a roman a clef about Krarner's co-founding of the Gay Men's Health Crisis group in 1982.
More coming-of-age novel than roman a clef, Tom Dolby's novel The Sixth Form follows the senior year (or "sixth form") of Ethan Whitley--sent to Berkley Academy by his Stanford professor parents after his mother is diagnosed with cancer--and Todd Eldon, who's coming to terms with his sexuality.
What literary form is known by the French term roman a clef?
Memoir is just a bad genre for journalistic frauds like Blair and contemporary fabulist Stephen Glass, whose recent roman a clef about The New Republic was widely panned.
To the End of the World (1956) is a roman a clef set in the post-WWII Parisian theater scene.
To those of us who read the roman a clef Windswept House by the late Malachi Martin when it came out about five years ago, the revelations of pederasty on the part of a number of priests, as well as a few bishops and perhaps even cardinals, was not really surprising.
But Kernan demonstrates that reality is just as delicious as anything Lodge could invent (though, in one of the delights of Kernan's own book, he lets us in on the roman a clef arid reveals who's who in Lodge's novels, and in others of the sort).
McCourt intends this to be, not a roman clef, but instead roman a keyhole (clef meaning "key" in French): "[A] roman a clef pretends to show the whole picture of figment-people--whereas the roman a keyhole ...
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's interweaving of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with a roman a clef about Diaghilev's Ballets Russes was a lushly romantic film that greatly boosted ballet's popularity.
A roman a clef is an established genre, having its own rules that must be accepted also by the critics; but it is far more important to keep in mind that Hyltoft's novel is not a true roman a clef!