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Roman clef

A roman à clef or roman à cl (French for "novel with a key") is a novel describing real-life events behind a facade of fiction. The "key", not present in the text, is the correspondence between events and characters in the novel and events and characters in real life. They are often satirical.

Romans à clefs are generally written to report inside information on scandals without giving rise to charges of libel. They also give the author the opportunity to turn the tale the way the author would like it to have gone.

Some notable romans à clefs:

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... acid - H2CO3 Chloroethene[?] - C2H3Cl Chloroform - CHCl3 Citric acid - C3H4OH(COOH)3. Cyclopentadiene - C5H6 Cytosine - C4H5N3O Epinephrine - C9H13NO3 ...