The Seventh Function of Language

The Seventh Function of Language

Laurent Binet / Aug 21, 2019

The Seventh Function of Language From the prizewinning author of HHhH the most insolent novel of the year L Express Paris The literary critic Roland Barthes dies struck by a laundry van after lunch with the presidential candid

  • Title: The Seventh Function of Language
  • Author: Laurent Binet
  • ISBN: 9781250181688
  • Page: 146
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the prizewinning author of HHhH, the most insolent novel of the year L Express Paris, 1980 The literary critic Roland Barthes dies struck by a laundry van after lunch with the presidential candidate Fran ois Mitterand The world of letters mourns a tragic accident But what if it wasn t an accident at all What if Barthes was murdered In The Seventh FunctFrom the prizewinning author of HHhH, the most insolent novel of the year L Express Paris, 1980 The literary critic Roland Barthes dies struck by a laundry van after lunch with the presidential candidate Fran ois Mitterand The world of letters mourns a tragic accident But what if it wasn t an accident at all What if Barthes was murdered In The Seventh Function of Language, Laurent Binet spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring such luminaries as Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Julia Kristeva as well as the hapless police detective Jacques Bayard, whose new case will plunge him into the depths of literary theory starting with the French version of Roland Barthes for Dummies Soon Bayard finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious seventh function of language A brilliantly erudite comedy that recalls Flaubert s Parrot and The Name of the Rose with than a dash of TheDa Vinci Code The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the caf s of Saint Germain to the corridors of Cornell University, and into the duels and orgies of the Logos Club, a secret philosophical society that dates to the Roman Empire Binet has written both a send up and a wildly exuberant celebration of the French intellectual tradition.

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      Posted by:Laurent Binet
      Published :2018-09-26T00:42:51+00:00

    About "Laurent Binet"

      • Laurent Binet

        Son of an historian, he was born in Paris, graduated from University of Paris in literature, and taught literature in Parisian suburb and eventually at University He was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman for his first novel, HHhH.Laurent Binet est n Paris Il a effectu son service militaire en Slovaquie et a partag son temps entre Paris et Prague pendant plusieurs ann es Agr g de lettres, il est professeur de fran ais en Seine Saint Denis depuis dix ans et charg de cours l Universit HHhH est son premier roman.


    622 Comments

    1. French intelligentsia hate this book. It is a good sign. Roland Barthes is dead. Murder? Perhaps. Who killed barthes who had discovered the 7th language function, able to give the power. It is an improbable thriller, Tintin at the structuralists. We meet Foucault in the gay backrooms, Sollers, Kristeva Chomsky, Searle, Eco, Jacobson. Bologna to Cornell. But especially, it is funny, hilarious, incredibly funny for a french book. Generally, during "rentrée littéraire", books are sinister, autofi [...]


    2. What would you do if you ruled the world?” The gigolo replied that he would abolish all laws. Barthes said: “Even grammar?This is a League of Extraordinary Gentleman for the French Theory set. Each page tumbles with allusions and citations, a whodunit which explores the esoteric and the political. I was smitten from the opening page and matters progressed from there. Despite some meta crabwalking I was fervently on-board, routinely laughing and marveling, enjoying the goat rodeo of the mind, [...]


    3. Que adjetivo poderíamos adotar para qualificar uma alma que, explorando assuntos e temas tão herméticos para a nossa compreensão e que incluem valências socioculturais que poderão surgir algo desenquadradas com a nossa atualidade, o nosso quotidiano – ou pelo menos de alguns de nós - como uma abordagem literária ou romanceada à semiologia, ao construtivismo ao estruturalismo que enformam algumas produções filosóficas nas quais se perfilam, sem alguma promiscuidade, as correntes per [...]


    4. It is going to be extraordinarily difficult to write much about this book without divulging the plot, and I do want you to read it without any foreknowledge (not that such a thing is possible, because context is of course one of the issues here). So I will try to put the big spoilers at the end, hidden, and you can decide whether to read the last review paragraphs before or after the book.You know those slot machine windows where there are a dozen lines zigzagging up and down through the simples [...]


    5. Een heerlijke speeltuinHier zullen ze in elke taalopleiding van smullen. Het lijkt wel alsof Laurent Binet een stapel syllabi uit de afdeling taalwetenschap aan zijn schrijftafel heeft samengevoegd met wat hij heeft geleerd in een opleiding verhaal- en verteltheorie om zijn nieuwe roman uit te werken. ‘De zevende functie van taal’ fictionaliseert de dood van Roland Barthes en voert de grote Franse denkers van de jaren 80 op als personages in een roman die het midden houdt tussen Milan Kunder [...]


    6. Read up to p.168. In complete reviewerly concord with Lee Klein as to the novel’s initial momentum and momentous moments—the whip-smart précis of theories from the pastiched theorists, the hilarious send-ups of the self-regarding demimondes, the clever take on the political lunacies of the period, the sparky self-awareness of the narrator, and the frothy fun of the comic dialogue. But when the novel moves to Bologna, and the conceit of Barthes’s “7th language”, i.e. a mind-control too [...]


    7. On croit un moment que l'on a en mains un roman brillant et hilarant. Mais très vite, l'enquête rocambolesque menée par un jeune prof de fac et un policier beauf s’essouffle. Les mêmes scènes se répètent, les mêmes grosses ficelles se répètent ( prêter des rôles de conspirateurs à des intellectuels célèbres - Umberto Eco, Sollers, BHL, etc). Le suspens ne prend pas, on sort épuisé à la longue par des chapitres extrêmement verbeux, répétitifs et ennuyeux. La fin ( ou plutô [...]


    8. What an entertaining book! Aside the generous liberties taken to story-tell with the cavalcade of personalities from that era 1980's there was a reasonably well explicated laying out of semiotics/linguistics/historical record of those who developed the fields of study. I just finished another book which also "Lost in the Cosmos" delved into the murky waters of the semiotics relationship to culture/history and so this was helpful - there's a new hook in my mouth and where this will lead - the mag [...]


    9. Roland Barthes gets hit by a laundry van in early 1980, which I'd never heard of for some reason, and dies soon after – but what if it wasn't an accident? What if it was murder? Thus begins the investigation of inspector Bayard and the young lecturer Herzog on the hunt for the titular lost manuscript.I was thrilled when I first heard about this book, because I love novels that are set in an academic background (even better if there's murder involved) and I've been wanting to read Binet's Prix [...]


    10. Une très bonne lecture pour cette rentrée littéraire, j'ai beaucoup appris mais j'ai surtout réalisé que j'ai encore beaucoup à apprendre et j'en ressors avec une liste d'auteurs et de chercheurs à lire ou à feuilleter, selon le courage J'ai adoré la chute du roman qui est un hommage au langage et probablement à Barthes L'intrigue est très bien ficelée, on les voit les années de recherches de Binet pour écrire ce roman. Un de ces livres que je relirai dans quelques années, une foi [...]


    11. Já tinha gostado muito de HHhH e a minha expectativa era alta. Em 1980 Roland Barthes é atropelado à saída de um almoço com o candidato François Mitterrand, no bolso do casaco tem o segredo para a sétima função da linguagem. A partir daqui, Laurent Binet constrói um "whodunnit" brilhante e hilariante onde as personagens principais são os principais linguistas, filósofos e semiólogos da segunda metade do século XX. A forma como articula as várias correntes filosóficas e linguísti [...]


    12. Probably one of my favourite reads of the year. A recreation of Roland Barthes' most unfortunate demise filled with humour, linguistic theories, fictionalised versions of real life academics and politicians plus a cop trying to navigate the world of French inteligentsia. Highly recommended.(Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy!)


    13. 1978, een volle aula in de Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte op de Blandijn in Gent. Vak: Nederlandse taalkunde. Professor V.F. Vanacker raakt hopeloos verstrikt in zijn uitleg over de Transformationeel Generatieve Grammatica en Chomsky’s boomdiagrammen. Gênante stilte, lichte verbijstering en hier en daar besmuikt gelach op de banken van de honderdtwintig aanwezige studenten. Vanacker, veel meer gespecialiseerd in dialectologie dan in het nieuwerwetse structuralisme, laat het vak TGG voorta [...]


    14. Roman pas inintéressant, mais qui se perd dans son propre concept de pastiche, et tombe dans la caricature. Certains passages sont éprouvants tellement ils sont illisibles de caricature (scènes à l'université américaine). Quant au name-dropping, à force de s'amuser, l'auteur finit par ne plus amuser le lecteur.Le principal problème du livre, qui apparaît après une première partie formidable et très drôle, c'est de ne pas avoir réussi à tenir son concept de départ (dire l'histoire [...]


    15. It has been too long since I gave a novel five stars because it was an absolute joy from start to finish. This is most certainly the first such novel of 2018. ‘The 7th Function of Language’ is an extremely funny murder mystery farce set in the pompous and obscure world of European theorists. It pulls off a number of very neat tricks. One is enabling the reader to feel clever for recognising various characters, while mocking the theorists sufficiently that the risk of pretentiousness is under [...]



    16. Read the first 40 pages. HHhH was brilliant, but this one’s cleverness is passing me by. I could probably sustain my interest in a playful mystery about linguistics and ‘the death of the author’ for the length of a short story, but not for nearly 400 pages.


    17. Foucault qui déballe ses théories entouré de trois jeunes putes mâles dans un sauna.Kristeva en evil mastermind.Sollers histrionique.Des agents bulgares, russes, japonais PARTOUT.Des parapluies empoisonnés.La sémiotique magique. Good shit.


    18. S touhle knížkou jsem měla problém už od počátku, kdy jsem ji začínala číst natřikrát. Vždy jsem raději sáhla po něčem "lehčím" nebo "elektroničtějším", co se víc hodilo na dovolenou. A pak se do ní vlamovala docela ztuha. Ono už jen těch postav, s nimiž se čtenář musí seznámit. A kdo není zrovna zběhlý v lingvistice, sémiotice a vlastně i v politice, tomu se plave daleko obtížněji a pomaleji. Jako by stylem čubička honil kraulujícího autora. Dokonce [...]


    19. Barthes Simpson.In 2012, the founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine, Julian Baggini, wrote an essay in which he said: “The Simpsons is much more than a funny animated cartoon, it’s a work of philosophy. It does philosophy better than most philosophers.” So convinced that this was indeed the case, Glasgow University introduced a course examining the wisdom of the Simpson family in philosophical terms. (A course that proved decidedly popular. D’oh.) Baggini also stated: “Comedy is the m [...]


    20. Throwing in the towel at 79%. Starting to go cross-eyed and speed-reading sections. Yes, this is stuffed to the gills with allusions and repartee, and comes across as Literary Theory 101 for Dummies but it is not a novel. Maybe it is supposed to be an anti-novel. No characterisation, just historic pastiche. And no plot either, just a seemingly endless riff on Barthes, etc. And determined to wallow in so muck-raking, back-stabbing, and general sordidness that the author’s vitriolic bile quickly [...]


    21. Unter den letzten Strukturalisten, Poststrukturalisten und Postmodernen wird immer noch gern darüber gestritten, wann genau diese ausgesprochen aufregende Ära des Denkens und des intellektuellen Abenteuers zuende gegangen ist? Vielen, wahrscheinlich den meisten wird es der 25. Juni 1984 gewesen sein, als Michel Foucault, einer der Säulenheiligen der französischen Theoretiker, als eine der ersten Personen der Öffentlichkeit, die sich dazu bekannten, an AIDS starb. Anderen, vielleicht optimis [...]


    22. What literary person can resist a satire of the French 1980s intelligentsia? Roland Barthes is struck by a vehicle, hospitalized, and dies--but not before setting in motion an investigation that points to mysteries, secret societies, a Holy Grail of a purloined document, and national conspiracies. The cast features no less than Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, Jean-Paul Sartre, François Mitterand, Umberto Eco (whom I wish got more stage time), et [...]


    23. It's a pity that books like Eco's "Il pendolo di Foucault" and Semprún's "La deuxième mort de Ramón Mercader" have been written and published long ago, because that makes "La septième fonction du langage" taste a little bit of an epigone. But with its tongue-in-cheek style, this book is a very entertaining addition to the genre of historical misrepresentation. So I can also state: If you loved Eco's and Semrún's aforementioned books, you're likely to appreciated Binet's work, too.So, what d [...]


    24. 'The 7th Function of Language' by Laurent Binet (translated by Sam Taylor)3.5 stars/ 7 out of 10I was interested in reading 'The 7th Function of Language', because I have read and enjoyed Laurent Binet's earlier novel 'HhHH'.This novel covers very different ground. It opens with an apposite quotation from Jacques Derrida concerning language and interpretation. It then proceeds into a 'detective novel' with a twist; in that many of the people important to its plot are figures from 1980s French po [...]


    25. 3.7Well, it's no HHhH, and while there's no denying how clever it is, and Binet's well intentioned humor (he really never condescends to the reader), the plot simply doesn't hold up, which is a massive shame, because a murder mystery with basically every major French intellectual from the 20th century colliding in orbit should be the best kind of bananas. But this book is just a bunch of normal bananas tied together with meta-fishing wire. Sometimes you get a really funny banana, but it's still [...]


    26. Binet is a smart ass. This book shows what things would be like if theory-heads were right about the world and their place and relative importance in it.


    27. "La Séptima función del lenguaje" no es un libro común, tiene tantas particularidades que me cuesta hacer un comentario.Empecemos por la historia: Roland Barthes es atropellado y la policía piensa que no fue por accidente, lo que se reafirma cuando descubren que un documento importante falta en su escritorio. La acción gira en torno a la investigación del equipo que forman el inspector Bayard y un lingüista llamado Simón Herzog. Los personajes secundarios que desfilan por la líneas de " [...]


    28. Intrigerend boek dat ik zeker nog een keer moet lezen om de verwijzingen en lagen die ik nu gemist heb, een beetje te begrijpen. Het helpt wel als je wat van taal weet.


    29. This was my favourite read of 2017: intellectually invigorating, richly hilarious and audaciously defamatory! Much as Binet's previous novel HHhH smuggled various literary forms and genres into one novel, here Binet marries the form of a political conspiracy thriller to the historical milieu of early 1980s European and American academia and politics, to explore how what we read, and how we argue and interpret, shapes the fabric of our lived experience. “Life is not a novel,” he begins. “Or [...]


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