The Seventh Function of Language

The Seventh Function of Language

The Seventh Function of Language – Laurent Binet & Sam Taylor

Good press, and nice reviews are enticing. A word play in the opening sentences with an existential reference was fun, if acerbic?

Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest owes his power over the natural world to his books. In the third act, Caliban remarks that one should steal his books, take his words, thereby, reducing Prospero’s powers over nature and the world (as Caliban knows it). Prospero’s control is determined by words.

The book itself? The Seventh Function of Language? Means, so far, this isn’t light reading material, but layered, nuanced, with a slightly over-wrought finish to it.

“Let’s cast our minds back to the series The Prisoner, with its protagonist, Number 6, who desperately, rebelliously repeats: ‘I am not a number!’ James Bond, on the other hand, is perfectly comfortable with his number, all the more so as it confers upon him extraordinary privileges, making him an aristocrat (in Her Majesty’s service, naturally).” Page 24.

Nimbly crossing genres — and languages.

Brings up the point about translation, again. Originally appeared in French.

As a sidebar item, written or spoken, which is more potent?

Question begging aside.

What Neal Stephenson as an author, does in 900 pages, this French guy does in less than 300?

The Seventh Function of Language

Reading a digital copy of the book was much easier as I was able to reference French politicians, liberal professors, and linguistics theories, all sprinkled with philosophies. Helped add depth, but also made it longer to read. Lots of stuff to look up to get the back story to the novel’s backstory.

In part, I was unable to tear myself away, finding portions of the book either magic or madness, and in one section, sure I was reading a Dali-type of image. I can only imagine what Paris looked like in 1980. Layer on a level of Dali-like surreal, and just makes it — more interesting — if totally devoid of apparent objectivity.

The Seventh Function of Language

As a translated text, that introduces problems with inflection, tone, author’s voice, and what is interpreted instead of what was written in the original. However, as complex as the novel seems to be, I wouldn‘t even think of trying to undertake in its original language.

“I think I’m trapped in a novel.” Page 198.

Cheap shot.

No, see, when a character says something line, a line of dialogue, “Help, I‘m trapped in a box,” like a mime? Yeah, couldn’t resist calling a cheap shot. Funny, though, in context.

Strange novel that is one of the better books I’ve a read in a long while, as it has the layers like onions, and like an onion, a little stinky, but so good when enjoyed alone.

Who knew the inner life of the linguist was so filled with “Sex and drugs and rock’n’roll?”

A fairy tale — magical realism — about politics remarkably prescient for current American issues?

Ultimately, sort of defies a single category, sort of intellectual mobsters types. Little bit of gore, like a sprinkling of Quentin Tarantino spewed across the novel’s landscape with one too many allusion to meta-fiction, but the tale itself kept me going, good to the last drop. Of blood?

That was a good book, but I’m not sure what it was. Digital is way better as it almost requires constant access to the web for definitions and backgrounds.

Perhaps, though, there is a connection between language and what people can be made to do. Magic, the magic of the letters. The arcane arts of rhetoric in literature?

The Seventh Function of Language

Momentary pause and reflection, I kept thinking about a painter, Bruegel — think that’s the name — with grand pictures offering intricate details about characters in the pictures themselves.

Art history is not one of my strengths.

Still, looping back and forth in the book, with such graphic details about recent historical figures, and politics, and the politics of the academic worlds, just brought up an image of that painter and his works.

The Seventh Function of Language

The Seventh Function of Language – Laurent Binet & Sam Taylor

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel sig

Kramer –

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