September 29, 2008
AFFLATUS – n. formal a divine creative impulse or inspiration.
A common usage of this word is in the phrase “the divine afflatus” (which seems a little redundant given the definition). The ancient Greeks believed that the divine afflatus was behind most art and creation. The Divine Afflatus is also a chapter in the book “Prejudices: Second Series” by H. L. Mencken. In the chapter, Mencken argues for the existence and validity of the divine afflatus. It is very well written.
I found a few bands called Afflatus but only one of them sounded any good. You can listen to most of their CD, Autumn’s Urgency, here. It’s like a rock, reggae mix. Not bad.
A search for “afflatus” brought up a Time article from 1939 entitled “Mr. Bilbo’s Afflatus.” It is completely unrelated to the word of the day but I found it fascinating and horrifying and I feel like it is important to be aware of those aspects of our history. So I’m including it with today’s word of the day.