The spirit of the times. A German word (especially when capitalized) for the taste, outlook, or general trend of thought which is characteristic of the cultural productions of a period or generation. For example, the zeitgeist of the Neoclassical period is considered to be rationalism, whereas that of the Romantic period is sentiment. The zeitgeist of the early modern period may have been faith in salvation through technological advancement, whereas that of the postmodern period would be disdain for such expressions of certainty. Because the identification of a zeitgeist tends to obliterate differences and imply a degree of essentialism, it is safe to say that postmodern thought in general distrusts it. The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage calls use of the word zeitgeist "pretentious."(pr. TSI:T-gi:st)Also see art, artist, design, Enlightenment, feminism and feminist art, gender issues, and multiculturalism.

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