noun (plural romans à clef pronounced same)
A novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.
- It is the crudest roman-à-clef, glaringly derivative and creakingly obvious.
- 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.
- 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'.
For editors and proofreaders
Syllabification: ro·man à clef
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