Jean Echinoz Courir

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Literary seminar essay FR4201 – Cecile Decousu

Ellen Kehoe
110383285

6. « Par liberté, j’entends le triomphe de l’individualité » Comment on the ways in which you see an emphasis on the individual in the texts you have read. The concept of the individual is dealt with in varying ways through lots of the texts which I have read. The texts which stood out for me as having the most emphasis on the individual and individuality are Jean Echenoz “Courir” and Rousseau’s “Les Reveries d'un Promeneur Solitaire”. Both deal with the individual and individuality in a prominent way. In Jean Echnoz Courir we see a great emphasis on the individual in the form of runner Emile Zatopek. The emphasis is on the individual of Emile the Czechoslovakian runner. While readily identifiable as a great runner, for much of the novel the protagonist is only presented as "Émile", and it's only fairly well into the short book that Echenoz fully acknowledges him as Zatopek - a name that, as Echenoz points out, takes on a meaning of its own once the runner's greatness has become undeniable. Although Zatopek achieved great public identity his running career does not begin until his adult life. At the beginning of the book it is clear that Zatopek shows no indication of any athletic prowess of promise in fact it even says  "Il a horreur du sport, de toute façon". Eventually he participates in a running race and does quite well people remark on his individual style of running some calling it bizarre. However it is this ‘bizarre’ individual style of running that leads to the success of Emile Zatopek.  He doesn't immediately win his first races, but coming in second gets his name in the paper, making for a sudden "identité publique" that fascinates him. Echenoz also writes that the twenty-year-old doesn't yet fully comprehend what having an identité publique means. The writer Jean Echnoz is fascinated by Emiles individual character the way he does things his own way- running in a way that is...
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