Belief, Disbelief, and Truth: On Zachary Lazar’s “Vengeance”

The roman à clef (a true book disguised as fiction) is a long-established category of literature going back to the eighteenth century with the nearly forgotten work of the French writer Madeleine de Scudéry, who is said to have invented the form as a way to write about politics and other sensitive matters without landing herself in jail. A literary cousin—let’s call it a “fictional memoir”—goes back just as far, at least to 1722, when Daniel Defoe published A Journal […]

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