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The Seventh Function of Language

A Novel

9780374261566

Farrar Straus & Giroux
Available: 08/01/17
5.75 x 8.57 · 368 pages
9780374261566
CDN $38.00 · cl
With dust jacket

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Laurent Binet

From the prizewinning author of HHhH, the most insolent novel of the year" ( L'Express ) is a romp through the French intelligentsia of the twentieth century.
Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies - struck by a laundry van - after lunch with the presidential candidate Francois 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 with more than a dash of The Da Vinci Code - The Seventh Function of Language takes us from the cafes 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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Laurent Binet was born in Paris, France, in 1972. He is the author of La Vie professionnelle de Laurent B., a memoir of his experience teaching in secondary schools in Paris. In March 2010, his debut novel, HHhH, won the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman. Laurent Binet is a professor at the University of Paris III, where he lectures on French literature. Sam Taylor has written for The Guardian, Financial Times, Vogue and Esquire, and has translated such works as the award-winning HHhH by Laurent Binet, and the internationally-bestselling The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker.