McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography
Published: August 2003© 2002
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 360 Pages
Dimensions: 6.72 x 9.74
360 Pages, 6.72 x 9.74 x 0.95 in
The first book to propose that Marshall McLuhan be read as a spatial theorist, McLuhan in Space argues that space is the single most consistent concept in McLuhan's vast and eclectic body of work. Richard Cavell demonstrates how McLuhan extended insights derived from advances in physics and artistic experimentation into a theory of acoustic space, which he then used to challenge the assumptions of visual space that had been produced through 500 years of print culture.
The notion of acoustic space provided McLuhan with a heuristic probe of prodigious range, allowing him to examine critically the many social and cultural forms of contemporary media production. It also enabled him to cross over intellectually from the purely theoretical realm into that of artistic production, where his interests in radical notions of spatial production were shared by a range of avant garde artists from bp Nichol to Glenn Gould, from John Cage to the Fluxus artists - an artistic milieu in which McLuhan increasingly came to situate his work. Cavell's book is the first to examine McLuhan's work in light of this artistic backdrop, and the first to examine his contribution to Canadian studies.
'Brilliant ... Cavell's lucid exposition of McLuhan's work and its links with Canadian culture is without a doubt the best treatment of the subject to date.'Christoph Irmscher, Canadian Literature
'Cavell has done us a particular favour - not only does the book walk us exhaustively through the ways in which McLuhan's theories relate to space, but it also acts as a refresher on the oeuvre itself. Cavell considers the ways in which McLuhan influenced and was influenced by fellow scholars, artistic contemporaries and students (Harold Innis, Northrop Frye, Walter Ong) and the connections between McLuhan's theories and artistic works being produced by avant-garde artists such as bpNichol and Glenn Gould.'Sue Bowness, Literary Review of Canada
'Cavell is one of the few analysts of McLuhan who has fully appreciated his importance as a poet, that is a verbal artist, and the importance of certain continental art and art criticism in the body of McLuhan's work. [His work contains] powerful arguments for McLuhan['s] ... impact on art, writing, and the newer arts in Canada and elsewhere.'Donald Theall, President Emeritus, Trent University
'Cavell's book constitutes a significant contribution to research on and about McLuhan, space, and indeed, our more general understanding of contemporary electronically mediated society; it also offers a fascinating and unprecedented intellectual history of the circumstances and contexts of Canadian artistic and cultural production in the twentieth century.'Imre Szeman, Department of English, McMaster University