Contemporary readers of Crebillon fils's Les Egarements du coeur et de l'esprit were apparently struck by the vraisemblance the book exuded. For a variety of reasons, this fact might surprise their modern counterparts. One is the sheer stylization of the narrative, a self-conscious rhetorical patterning that could seem vraisemblable only to an audience itself steeped in artifice—the very members of the monde described in Les Egarements itself, perhaps. A second is the absence from the novel of that most conventional 'realistic' prop, the depiction of a material background and the objects that usually fill it: for Crebillon shows no interest in anything but emotional and moral analysis, the time-honoured focus of classical literature. A third, related, factor is the breach of verisimilitude implicit in a narrator's ability to interpret the emotional and moral states of those around him retrospectively, when they were not signalled in ways that he could have observed or intuited at the time.