hunter s thompson – roman a clef

Imagination and a device to open a lock
It was my reflection in the mirror I tried to block – Ryan Cox

“Hunter S Thompson” A Circus Mind

This passage refers to Thompson’s use of a roman à clef in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” as Raoul Duke. Roman à clef translates as “novel with a key,” which really doesn’t explain much in English about what the term means. More specifically, a novel written in this style is supposedly fiction that hides a bit of a secret. Such a novel may be used as satire to mock real people like political figures or celebrities, to actually serve as an author’s autobiography or to be at least semi-autobiographical. Roman à clef may also be used to completely insult and denigrate someone else’s character, but since it is supposedly “fiction” the author avoids charges of slander.

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