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Bovarysme is a term derived from Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857). It denotes a tendency toward escapist daydreaming in which the dreamer imagines himself or herself to be a hero or heroine in a romance, whilst ignoring the everyday realities of the situation. The eponymous Madame Bovary is an example of this.[1]

In his essay "Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca" (1927), T. S. Eliot suggested Othello's last great speech as an example: "I do not believe that any writer has ever exposed this bovarysme, the human will to see things as they are not, more clearly than Shakespeare."[2]


  1. ^ Baldick, Chris (2008). Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press
  2. ^ Eliot, T.S. (1999). T.S. Eliot Selected Essays. London: Faber and Faber. p. 131. ISBN 0-571-19746-9.