I chose the pseudonym ‘bovarysme’ after seeing the word used by Cahun in Jennifer L. Shaw’s biography of her, Exist Otherwise. (Yes, I stole that name for this journal, but Shaw likewise appropriated it from Cahun’s statement in Disavowals, “Post-scriptum: At present, I exist otherwise.”) In a letter, Cahun admits to having a “tendency towards ‘bovarysme’.
Bovarysme is a term derived from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857), coined by Jules de Gaultier in his 1892 essay on Flaubert’s novel, “Le Bovarysme, la psychologie dans l’œuvre de Flaubert”. It denotes a tendency towards escapist daydreaming in which the dreamer imagines themself 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.
When I started using it, I mistakenly spelled it ‘bovarisme.’
cc bovarysme is a pseudonym. My name is Eric Jennings (he/him) – I am a writer and visual artist with a background in theatre and performance. My experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual victimization inform my work.