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chronosome n (Greek khronos, time + Greek soma, body; cf. chromosome) Ð a unit of historical heredity, in contrast with a chromosome as a unit of biological heredity; a mental code of a historical period that is transmitted to next generations through styles, traditions and unconscious influences ("cultural air").
The chronosomes of the early 20th c. avant-garde have reached the generation of the 1960s and shaped its political views and artistic styles.

Nabokov's novel "Invitation to a Beheading" bears many Kafka's chronosomes, even if the author claims to have never read Kafka.
by Mikhail Epstein November 13, 2003
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