For his second book THE SEVENTH FUNCTION OF LANGUAGE—a highly comedic murder mystery about French Theory in the 1980s in which the death of Roland Barthes was not an unfortunate accident but a deliberate hit carried out in pursuit of that seventh function—Laurent Binet turns everything he loves and loathes about European intellectual life into irreverent satire.
Starring Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Umberto Eco, Judith Butler (as a university student), Louis Althusser (and his uxoricide), François Mitterrand (Barthes’ lunch date just before his death), Valéry Giscard, Michelangelo Antonioni and Monica Vitti at a fateful Logos Club meeting in Bologna, and Jacques Derrida, Roman Jakobson, Sylvère Lotringer, Camille Paglia, Félix Guattari (but not Gilles Deleuze) at a linguistic symposium-turned-orgy at Cornell, the novel’s episodes are punctuated with a series of hilarious examples of the extreme logorrhea and irrepressible vanity of Philippe Sollers.
THE SEVENTH FUNCTION OF LANGUAGE
Translated by Sam Taylor
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017).
Roland Barthes. Image credit above: Éditions Grasset et Fasquelle.