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Sedmá funkce jazyka

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  3,335 ratings  ·  606 reviews
Je 25. února 1980 a v jedné pařížské ulici srazila dodávka chodce. Šlo by zřejmě o tragickou, leč ničím výjimečnou událost, nebýt toho, že oním chodcem byl světoznámý francouzský sémiolog Roland Barthes a že se právě vracel z oběda s prezidentským kandidátem Françoisem Mitterrandem.
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published 2017 by Argo (first published August 19th 2015)
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,335 ratings  ·  606 reviews

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He’s Not the Messiah; He’s a Naughty Boy

Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the surrealist English television and film troupe, famous for among other things the hysterically funny Life of Brian, was the new wave of British comedy in the 1970’s. The focus of Monty Python’s humor was not so much human behaviour as it was the very meaning of meaning to human beings - its relativity, its conventionality, and its inherent absurdity.

Roland Barthes, the motivator of the action in The 7th Function of Language
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, my
Roland Barthes, who wrote Death of the Author, is in turn killed by this author. Other acts of violence or mere indignities happen to “real” people. Antonioni, the film director has a finger chopped off. Umberto Eco gets pissed on by a hippie. Phillipe Sollers . . . well: The sophist with the doctor’s beak wedges Sollers’s balls between the two blades of the shears, firmly grips the handles, and presses them together. Snip. Camille Paglia - A young, short-haired woman, who looks a bit like a cr ...more
Philippe Malzieu
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...from Bologna to Cornell.
But especially, it is funny, hilarious, incredibly funny for a french book. Generally, during "rentrée littéraire", books are sinister, au
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, 2018-read
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 more. Yes, the book does have some flaws, but it is so fun, intelligent and daring that I want to applaud Binet for his wild imaginatio ...more
Paul Fulcher
In Bologna, he had sex with Bianca in a seventeenth-century amphitheatre and narrowly escaped death in the bombed train station. Here, he has almost been stabbed in a library at night by a linguistics philosopher and has witnesses a decidedly mythological doggy-style sex scene on a photocopier. He met Giscard in the Elysee palace, bumped into Foucault in a gay sauna, took part in a car chase which ended with an attempt on his life, saw a man kill another man with a poisonous umbrella, discovered ...more
Viv JM
Well, that was an unexpected delight!

I can't say I would ever have chosen to read this book, had it not been longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize (and been the only book from the said longlist stocked by my local bookshop). From the blurb I had imagined it would be rather pretentious and self congratulatory and whilst, there was occasionally an element of the latter, overall I found it jolly good fun. I loved the evolving relationship between Bayard and his sidekick Simon. I loved t
Katia N
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ba ...more
MJ Nicholls
Feb 18, 2018 marked it as half-read  ·  review of another edition
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 tool for world ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
The book was 2018 MBI longlisted, and I read it with ManBookering group.
To me it was a slightly better-than-average detective thriller filled with sometimes excessive academic minutia.
Paris police chief Bayard and young professor Simon Herzog teamed up to investigate the seemingly accidental death of renowned literary critic Roland Barthes. Kind of a Sherlock Holmes tale infused with both intellectual (academic) and erotic stimulations.
Real historical events, like French election and Bologna mas
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
Simon Robs
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 undercut. ...more
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 Goncourt winning first novel "HHhH" for the longest time. This one, however, didn't convince me. It started out promising, I loved the setting in different European cities, but at some point the sheer amount of real-life characters, lengthy, repetitive scenes, pseudo-intellectual language (yes, I'm awar ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What can you do with language?

This is the question Laurent Binet asks his readers and the question he attempts to answer in this extraordinarily intelligent and amusing novel.

Binet begins with the assumption that Roland Barthes’s death was no accident. Barthes, famous linguistic and semiologist, had apparently uncovered a seventh function of language, or, to put it simply, a secret, a technique that would permit those who mastered it to turn words into actions. That is, to be like God wh
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-mbi, 2018
Let’s start with the obvious potential problem: I know nothing about semiology and this book includes a lot about semiology and language theory. On the plus side, this is mixed with car chases, sex, mutilations, murders and explosions! For a book that is self-consciously a novel, large parts of it are incredibly cinematic.

The plot is, it has to be said, ridiculous. In an alternative history, the death of Roland Barthes is not an accident but the starting point of a story about a mythical seventh
Kai Weber
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 does B
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!)
Chris Via
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
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 al. ...more
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.
Dec 26, 2017 marked it as sampled  ·  review of another edition
Putting down on page 147 -- loved the opening part, the general conceit, lots of fun to see everyone's favorite theorists animated in a whodunit set in Paris. Loved the bit about Bond and Simon's detective-like interpretations of the text of life. So good. Also loved the Bayard's BS detector and general demeanor as a counterbalance for the intellectualization. But after about 75 pages I noticed my interest fading as things seemed muddled with characters and 1980isms. Loved the bits about Connors ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a suspicion that I wouldn’t have liked this as much if I wasn’t familiar with the work of a lot of the characters in the novel.

So, yeah, Binet reverses Umberto Eco’s supernumeraries (fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, that have effects on the real-world, and to which we could attribute some degree of reality) — and puts them into play searching for a purloined letter —which means, of course, we need a Dupin, an unnamed narrator, a Lacanian seminar, and a Purveyor of Truth. But no
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 most truthful
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.
Marc Nash
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, bear with me on this one...

How many French stand-up comedians can you name? None right. I even know of a German stand up. (Eddie Izzard doing gigs in French doesn't count btw, he's English).

Buskers on Paris Metro station concourses play violins or cellos and often have a music stand for their music, unlike Tube buskers who strum electric guitars plugged into practice amps along to Pink Floyd. Burgeoning hip-hop from the suburbs aside, France has no contemporary pop culture. Which is why it
Sidharth Vardhan
There are a few good ideas and a couple of good jokes: the debates are best part - but much of it is just a satire on French intellectuals in a rather adolescent style.
Mel Campbell
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 at le ...more
Do not, as I did, read this in audio. While the narrator was excellent, I so needed to know how to spell all the names and theories so I could look them up. I admit to only recognizing, without seeing the names in print, the names Mitterand. I know Mitterand was the French prime minister in the 1980's. (I also knew all the male tennis stars of the era, Carter, Reagen, Thatcher, and Comsky - but they were not really characters in this novel, just used to make points.) I did not know who Roland Ba ...more
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

'The 7th Function of Language' by Laurent Binet (translated by Sam Taylor)

3.5 stars/ 7 out of 10

I 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
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The Mookse and th...: 2018 MBI Longlist: 7th Function of Language 32 70 May 30, 2018 02:01AM  
ManBookering: The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet 33 84 Apr 12, 2018 11:33AM  
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 né à Paris. Il a effectué son service militaire en Slovaquie et a partagé son temps entre Paris et Prague pendant plusieurs années. Agrég
“What would you do if you ruled the world?” The gigolo replied that he would abolish all laws. Barthes said: “Even grammar?” 11 likes
“Glory to the logos, my friends! Long live dialectics! Let the party begin! May the verb be with you!” 5 likes
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