Mannerism or killer backhand? Schoenberg puts some English on the ball, Los Angeles, 1930s

Though originality is inseparable from personality, there exists also a kind of originality which does not derive from profound personality. Products of such artists are often distinguished by a unique appearance which resembles true originality. Certainly there was inventiveness at work when the striking changes of some subordinate elements were accomplished for the first time. Subsequently, used consciously, they achieved an aspect of novelty not derived profoundly from basic ideas. This is mannerism, not originality. The difference is that mannerism is originality in subordinate matters.

There are many, and even respectable, artists whose success and reputation are based on this minor kind of originality. Unfortunately, the tendency to arouse interest by technical peculiarities, which are simply added to the nothingness of an idea, is now more frequent than it was in former times. The moral air of such products is rather for success and publicity than for enriching mankind’s thoughts.

-Arnold Schoenberg
Criteria For the Evaluation of Music (1946)

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