Last week marked the birthday of Marshall McLuhan, who would have turned 106 on July 21st. Marshall McLuhan was a famous media theorist who was born in Alberta and spent most of his professional career as a professor at the University of Toronto.
To celebrate his life and to learn more about him and his works, we invite you to read these University of Toronto Press books – the first is a famous work by McLuhan himself, the others, studies of McLuhan and his works.
By Marshall McLuhan
The Gutenberg Galaxy catapulted Marshall McLuhan to fame as a media theorist and, in time, a new media prognosticator. Fifty years after its initial publication, this landmark text is more significant than ever before.
Readers will be amazed by McLuhan’s prescience, unmatched by anyone since, predicting as he did the dramatic technological innovations that have fundamentally changed how we communicate. The Gutenberg Galaxy foresaw the networked, compressed ‘global village’ that would emerge in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries — despite having been written when black-and-white television was ubiquitous.
This new edition of The Gutenberg Galaxy celebrates both the centennial of McLuhan’s birth and the fifty-year anniversary of the book’s publication. A new interior design updates The Gutenberg Galaxy for twenty-first-century readers, while honouring the innovative, avant-garde spirit of the original. This edition also includes new introductory essays that illuminate McLuhan’s lasting effect on a variety of scholarly fields and popular culture.
A must-read for those who inhabit today’s global village, The Gutenberg Galaxy is an indispensable road map for our evolving communication landscape.
By B.W. Powe
Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye are two of Canada’s central cultural figures, colleagues and rivals whose careers unfolded in curious harmony even as their intellectual engagement was antagonistic. Poet, novelist, essayist and philosopher B.W. Powe, who studied with both of these formidable and influential intellectuals, presents an exploration of their lives and work in Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy.
Powe considers the existence of a unique visionary tradition of Canadian humanism and argues that McLuhan and Frye represent fraught but complementary approaches to the study of literature and to the broader engagement with culture. Examining their eloquent but often acid responses to each other, Powe exposes the scholarly controversies and personal conflicts that erupted between them, and notably the great commonalities in their writing and biographies. Using interviews, letters, notebooks, and their published texts, Powe offers a new alchemy of their thought, in which he combines the philosophical hallmarks of McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” and Frye’s “the great code.”
By Elena Lamberti
One hundred years after Marshall McLuhan’s birth, Elena Lamberti explores a fundamental, yet neglected aspect of his work: the solid humanistic roots of his original ‘mosaic’ form of writing. In this investigation of how his famous communication theories were influenced by literature and the arts, Lamberti proposes a new approach to McLuhan’s thought.
Lamberti delves into McLuhan’s humanism in light of his work on media and culture, exploring how he began to perceive literature not just as a subject, but a ‘function inseparable from communal existence.’ Lamberti pays particular attention to the central role played by Modernism in the making of his theories, including the writings of Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Wyndham Lewis. Reconnecting McLuhan with his literary past, Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic is a demonstration of one of his greatest ideas: that literature not only matters, but can help us understand the hidden patterns that rule our environment.