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Old 07-22-2009, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
What's a "Seminal Work"?

If you read album reviews, the writers refer to "Seminal Works"-do they mean that the artist was jacking off whe he/she wrote it?
Or am I missing something?
Old 07-22-2009, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western Reserve
Posts: 8,370
Well, the words have the same origin --

1. pertaining to, containing, or consisting of semen.
2. Botany. of or pertaining to seed.
3. having possibilities of future development.
4. highly original and influencing the development of future events: a seminal artist; seminal ideas.

ETA: That was from the Random House Dictionary.

Last edited by Sigmagirl; 07-22-2009 at 09:54 AM.
Old 07-22-2009, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 1,261
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
If you read album reviews, the writers refer to "Seminal Works"-do they mean that the artist was jacking off whe he/she wrote it?
Or am I missing something?
The word "seminal" does indeed derive from "semen," which itself Latin for "seed."

In this context, it means that the work is essential for truly appreciating the artist in question, whether the artist is a painter, writer, recording artist, or something else.

On preview, what Sigmagirl said.
Old 07-22-2009, 10:10 AM
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There was a feminist mini-push at one time to substitute the word 'germinal' as a gender neutral equivalent. I don't think it ever got much traction.

Seminal does cause me to giggle occasionally, if I think about it wrong at the right time.
Old 07-22-2009, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Schlaraffenland
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Deep Throat and Debbie Does Dallas are seminal works of porn, since they helped give rise to the idea that a porno could have a story line.
Old 07-22-2009, 12:11 PM
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Location: Western New York
Posts: 75,186
Basically a seminal work is one that inspired a bunch of other future works. Or one that got ripped off a lot if you want to be more cynical.

For example, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", Bram Stoker's Dracula, and William Gibson's Neuromancer were all seminal works. They essentially created the genres they were in.
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