spiritus mundi

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Loan term from Latin spīritus mundī (literallyspirit of the world)


spiritus mundi

  1. (sometimes capitalized) The spirit, outlook, point of view, or social and cultural values characteristic of an era of human history.
    • 1919, William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming":
      . . . a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
      Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
      A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
      A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
      Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
      Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    • 2000 July 25, C. Carr, "Bringing Down the House," Village Voice (retrieved 13 March 2012):
      Judson House was bohemian in the broadest sense of that term: a working or living space through much of the 20th century for people alienated from middle-class values, artistic, political, and spiritual. . . . "More than a building, it's the spiritus mundi," says senior minister Peter Laarman.
    • 2006 July 30, "The Great Right Place: James Ellroy Comes Home," Los Angeles Times, p. I14 (retrieved 13 March 2012):
      L.A. was a magnet for lives in desperate duress. . . . The place itself provided solace and recompense. They had the comfort of other arriviste losers. They entered the L.A. spiritus mundi.
    • 2007, Robert Ellwood, Campus Secrets, ↑ISBN, p. 166 (Google preview):
      A mind laughing, running, darting, planning, crunching letters and words one after the other, was something for which the spiritus mundi of this lost eon was not yet ready.