Doc La Septième Fonction du langage
La Septième Fonction du langage Mobi è 369 pages ↠ Laurent binet ↠ Paris 1980 The literary critic Roland Barthes dies—struck by a laundry van—after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterand The world of letters mourns a tragic accident But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? WGic accident But what if it wasn’t an accident at all? What if Barthes was murdered? What it is? It is a mixture of a thriller with the tour de force of linguistics and literary theories Binet picked up the year 1980 took real famous people and real events and has built a fictional plot around them He also created two main fictional characters for the connection between his plot and the rest The book effortlessly mixes real ideas in linguistics with the fictional actions by the characters both the invented and and the real ones The premise is intriguing what if Roland Barthes has been murdered and robbed of an important text he possessed In reality he died after the road accident The text would help the owner to exercise an enormous power of rhetorics through the 7th function of language A French detective and his chosen side kick young lecturer of semiology are there to investigate The intellectuals Barthes friends and colleagues are the main suspects; the high level politicians are after this text as well obviously How? Binet’s language is concise The book reads as a reportage as if Binet is commenting on a football match But it strangely suitable He does a lot of weird and cruel things with his characters; but he never distorts or interpret their real theories I appreciated this a lot as it was my main point of interest in the book A part of the plot was inspired by Fight Club The difference is that the fighting is rhetoric debates But the conseuences are really dire as well Some episodes in the novel seemed too “laddish” for my liking with usual suspects of sexual prowess drugs and mutilations of different sorts But it was not too excessive just enough for me to continue enjoying other things in the book Overall I did not care too much for the plot It reminded me The Savage Detectives where Bolano did the trick better imho But I loved the linguistics parts and finding out about the French intellectuals and American scholars of that time I did not know for example that there was such a war between the continental and analytical schools of philosophy I am glad I found out about it in such a playful form otherwise it would be too depressing It is not a pre reuisite but i think some prior knowledge andor some interest in linguistics and semiotics would amplify the reading experience A few words about the intellectual tradition The French intellectuals used to be celebrities They appeared in newspapers and TV programs People knew their faces and listen to their opinions I do not know about all the countries but certainly in Russia and Turkey for example it was similar only through unofficial channels due to the censorship A Russian poet Yevtushenko famously said “A poet in Russia is much than a poet” I know also that in Spain many prominent writers maintain the column in the national newspapers I do not know how it compares with the Kardashians or ex factor Unfortunately this phenomena is almost absent in the English speaking word I do not know the reasons for this but it is a pity Binet laughs at the French Intellectuals He teases them but he is proud of them some english speaking readers have only noticed the former but not the latter; he admires their thought and defends them He takes their ideas seriously He definitely do not consider them “clowns” the term used in some videos I’ve seen and reviewers I’ve read about these thinkers “The world changes because intellectuals and those in powers at war with each other The powerful win almost every battle and the intellectuals pay with their lives or their freedom for having stood up to the powerful and they bite the dust But not always And when an intellectual triumphs over the powerful even posthumously then the world changes A man earns the name of intellectual when he gives voice to the voiceless”It is a pity that currently the intellectual tradition seems to be moving to the right politically But it is a subject of a separate conversationReal people in the bookBarthes Kristeva Solliers Foucault Derrida Eco Searl Jacobson Chomsky; Francois Mitterrand; Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and the others;Main real eventsThe accident leading to Barthes death;The terrorist attack in Bologna ItalyThe election in France leading to Mitterrand’s presidencyThe killing of Bulgarian decedent Markov with a poisoned umbrella
Laurent Binet ñ La Septième Fonction du langage Book
Paris 1980 The literary critic Roland Barthes dies struck by a laundry van after lunch On the second page of this novel in a scene set during the Spring of 1980 the author's first person voice suddenly interrupts the omniscient narrator to wonder about a tiny detail of the scenario the narrator is in the process of setting up The author's voice is speaking to the reader from thirty five years after the event the narrator is describing and since the event really happened—a famous literary figure knocked down while crossing the street—accuracy in the setting should be important But the detail he focuses on seems uite trivial he wonders if the chain of shops called Vieux Camper Old Camper were present in Paris's Latin uarter in 1980 which is something he could easily have looked up on Wikipedia In any case I didn't immediately see how that chain of shops could be relevant to the scene that was playing outI wondered about that for a few pages until interesting intrusions by the author and curious details absorbed my attention Indeed details caught my eye constantly in the narrative so that I soon felt like a detective looking for clues which was apt enough as this novel uickly becomes a detective story a policier as they say in French but a very different policier to the usual one in that the accident that launches the fictional investigation into the whereabouts of the mysterious 'seventh function of language' really did happen on a street in Paris in 1980 Yes Laurent Binet has set up his investigative tent on the shifting sands between reality and fiction and the reader needs to have a compass handy or at least consult Safari because than half the characters are real figures in the literaryphilosophicalpolitical world of the 1980s and not just in Paris university circles but in those of Bologna and Cornell too We may be familiar with their names but we find ourselves needing to check Wiki facts against Binet 'facts' just to keep ourselves orientated—Ah So Roland Barthes didn't die for a full month after being knocked down while crossing the street I didn't know thatAnd how convenient for the plot that Louis Althusser's wife was killed in 1980 too —Also convenient is the fact that 1980 was when Giscard d'Estaing and Francois Mitterrand were confronting each other for the second time in the French Presidential campaign the elouent Giscard almost certain to win And what a surprise when in 1981 he eventually didn't Around the same time as that election Bjorn Borg confronted Ivan Lendl in Roland Garros to another unexected outcome Binet picked his moment in time well—And hey what do you know Roland Barthes and his colleague Michel Foucault then in their late fifties and early sixties used to freuent the same bathhouses Was that where Binet was going with his 'Vieux Camper' reference I wonder—Where did I hear of the American academic Morris Zapp? Aha He's a David Lodge character from precisely the eighties—And how interesting that Philippe Sollers and the super sharp Julia Kristeva were a couple in real life as well as in this novel That's another thing I didn't know But all the same surely Sollers never had an encounter with a pruning shears Although come to think of it his prose might have benefitted from pruning given the long 'turns' he has in this book —Ah hah Jacues Derrida that master of the power of language really did visit Cornell in the eighties but hold on HE didn't die until 2004 M Binet vous n'êtes pas dieu uand mêmeLaurent Binet travels around the world like some Deus ex Machina arranging and rearranging history to suit his purposes When it comes to his fictional characters we accept that he can do that For them Laurent Binet IS god He can jump in and save them spectacularly if it suits him even at the risk of causing his readers to raise an eyebrow—a blue Renault Fuego turns up incredibly often just at crucial moments But being God Binet kills as well as saves which is ok too except when one of those he kills is a real life person who didn't obligingly die in 1980 as Barthes and Althusser's wife had done La vie n'est pas un roman we whisper in Binet's direction but he has chosen not to heed any reminders about life not being as convenient as fictionSo yes Laurent Binet takes liberties and not only with life and death issues but with the private details of real people's lives I'm guessing that among the real life characters who were still living in 2015 when this book appeared there were a few bruised egos Philippe Sollers' and Julia Kristeva's not the least Umberto Eco whose 'Name of the Rose' appeared in 1980 coincidentally was probably less upset when he read about himself in this book I imagine him muttering l'uomo è la misura di tutte le cose and he wouldn't be wrong as regards how the plot of this book plays out in any case There's a character who though born in the early pages for the benefit of the plot refuses to die when the plot ends His name is Simon and Simon proves himself to be than the measure of all the various thug elements which the author contrives to place in his path and with increasingly violent outcomes as the story progresses Simon should be dead by the end but like James Bond he rises again and again—and always gets the girl too it's not for nothing that he was lecturing on the semiotics of James Bond films when the narrator introduced him into the story on page 38 But if Simon survives the book it's because the author has shared something uite powerful with his main character a tool that never made available to Bond the power of language Simon knows how to decode the world and he knows how to make use of his findings As hero of his own story he takes charge of the ending in spite of the author sending in enemy factions at the last minute Simon remains the 'living' proof that the one who controls language controls power Of course this book inevitably had me thinking about politics today and the role of language in controlling power While Binet created a hopeful scenario near the end of the story by imagining how a young Hawaiian student in Colombia University in 1980 might have gained his famous rhetorical skills politicians no longer need such skills today We see leaders getting elected by endlessly repeating the same catch phrases made up of three or four simple words Get Brexit Done Make America Great Again And now that I think of it three and four make seven
Epub ¹ La Septième Fonction du langage ñ Laurent Binet
La Septième Fonction du langageWith the presidential candidate François Mitterand The world of letters mourns a tra Okay I have to give Binet 5 stars for writing a book full to the brim with ideas in which every sentence contains at least one thought and that manages to be all kinds of contradictory things at once High brow and low brow noir murder mystery and comedy social analysis and satire pulp and linguistic textbook Sherlock Holmes and Austin Powers and so much Yes the book does have some flaws but it is so fun intelligent and daring that I want to applaud Binet for his wild imagination and deal with it attitude I had to put the text down repeatedly in order to stomach all the bits and pieces Binet offers and still I am sure that I missed numerous hints and jokes At the core Binet wrote a detective novel set in the circles of the French intelligentsia in the early 1980's Jacues Bayard a police officer straight out of a hardboiled crime novel tries to find out who murdered linguist Roland Barthes As he needs to investigate in scholarly circles he teams up with young linguistics researcher Simon Herzog Soon they realize that the murder of Barthes has to do with the fact that several linguists and politicians of the highest ranks have an interest in acuiring a techniue called the seventh function of language The famous theoretical model by Russian linguist Roman Jakobson contains six functions of language but in his novel Binet states that there's actually a seventh performative function which has the power to manipulate the receiver's actions and Barthes was murdered because he knew how the seventh function of language workedTo solve this murder mystery Herzog and increasingly Bayard apply semiotics to the case They read communications events people and their surroundings as signs as hints and riddles that need to be analyzed deconstructed and solved everybody who loves language will love this approach And as this is a French text through and through Binet sets the stage for intellectual and political powerhouses of the time in France intellectual and political circles are traditionally close knit which has to do with the French system of higher education both celebrating and mocking them Foucault Derrida BHL Kristeva Sollers Giscard d'Estaing Mitterand and many others make appearances Plus there are numerous metafictional elements this is Binet after all we are dealing with an author who thinks about his novel in the novel and characters who communicate with the author through the novel And then there are tons and tons of wild narrative ideas A secret debating society in which the loser of a rhetorical duel faces amputation Famous scholars going nuts in a backstreet sauna A worldwide political conspiracy in the field of semiotics And much much Does all of this amount to well too much at once? Yes and no Because I feel like this is part of the whole point Binet tells us that we are surrounded by meaning that language is a key to the world and multi level code a game complex than three dimensional chess and most importantly a joy How can you not love a book that proves this point on every single page?