Donna Tartt: The Secret History

(2226 words)
  • Lindsay Sullivan (University of Wales, Cardiff)

Donna Tartt reputedly received a $450,000 advance for The Secret History. In addition to being a commercial success, the novel has been translated into over twenty languages and has received much critical acclaim. One of the novel’s epigraphs is from Book 2 of Plato’s Republic: “Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes”. Part murder mystery, part Bildungsroman and part campus novel, The Secret History tells the story of a group of Classics students who, in the act of re-creating a Dionysian bacchanal, accidentally kill a stranger, and then, to cover their tracks and preserve their freedom, murder one of their own group. The …

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Sullivan, Lindsay. "The Secret History". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 May 2005
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]