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"Originals are, and ought to be, great Favourites, for they are great Benefactors; they extend the Republic of Letters, and add a new province to its dominion: Imitators only give us a sort of Duplicates of what we had, possibly much better, before." --Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) by Edward Young

"much art has been and is repetitive. The concept of absolute originality is a contemporary one, born with Romanticism; classical art was in vast measure serial, and the "modern" avant-garde (at the beginning of this century) challenged the Romantic idea of "creation from nothingness," with its techniques of collage, mustachios on the Mona Lisa, art about art, and so on." (Umberto Eco 1990 [1])

 This page Originality is part of the publication bias list of the Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia, presented by Alfred Jarry.
This page Originality is part of the publication bias list of the Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia, presented by Alfred Jarry.

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Originality is the aspect of created or invented works as being new or novel, and thus can be distinguished from reproductions, clones, forgeries, or derivative works. An original work is one not received from others nor one copied based on the work of others. The term "originality" is often applied as a compliment to the creativity of artists, writers, and thinkers.

The notion of originality came to prominence in the late-17th century with the 'Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns;' it was of great importance in the 18th century when Romanticism glorified creativity to the point of a veritable 'cult of originality' (the 1759 essay "Conjectures on Original Composition" by Edward Young was the first text exclusively dedicated to the subject); and finally reached its peak in the 19th century and 20th century avant-gardes with exemplary works such as Marcel Duchamp's Fountain.

During postmodernism, the role of originality has been downplayed, coinciding with the death of the avant-garde.



Threshold of originality

threshold of originality, sweat of the brow

The threshold of originality is a concept in copyright law that is used to assess whether a particular work can be copyrighted. It is used to distinguish works that are sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection from those that are not. In this context, "originality" refers to "coming from someone as the originator/author" (insofar as it somehow reflects the author's personality), rather than "never having occurred or existed before" (which would amount to the protection of something new, as in patent protection).


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Originality" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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