Tag Archives: Marshall McLuhan

  • Remembering Marshall McLuhan

    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.

    C150-McLuhan_GutenbergGalaxyThe Gutenberg Galaxy

    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.

    Powe (4506) cover 02.inddMarshall Mcluhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy

    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.”

    Lamberti_MarshallMcLuhansMosaicMarshall Mcluhan's Mosaic: Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies

    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.

  • More Marshall McLuhan

    If you're looking for more on Marshall McLuhan and his centennial, check out these articles!

    Douglas Coupland reflects on the relevance of Marshall McLuhan in The Guardian.

    The Globe and Mail's Michael Valpy discussed the return of Marshall McLuhan, and there's also a quiz, so go ahead and test your McLuhan knowledge!

    Toronto Life considers McLuhan as Toronto's most famous intellectual.

    Marty Gervais at the Windsor Star shares some anecdotes about McLuhan.

    Father Raymond J. De Souza wrote about McLuhan's religious thinking in the National Post.

    Marketing Magazine's Matt Semansky looks back at McLuhan's predictions that came true.

    Over at PopMatters, Rob Horning dissects some of McLuhan's theories.

    Daphne Bramham considers McLuhan in the age of Google+ at The Vancouver Sun.

    The Torontoist looks at McLuhan's legacy in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.

    For more McLuhan, be sure to visit McLuhan100.ca!

  • Celebrating Marshall McLuhan

    In September of 1960, Marshall McLuhan began conversations with an editor at UTP about a manuscript he was working on. In an Author Information Sheet filled out by McLuhan he described this piece of work: "To explain the nature and effects of phonetic writing and printing in the shaping of the Western world. In the electronic age, the Western world faces the possibility of complete change of all characteristics accruing from the technology of literacy." This manuscript and description led to The Gutenberg Galaxy published in 1962. What follows in the files kept at UTP is a flurry of reviews from countless publications across a wide range disciplines, and in a variety of languages from all around the world, including a translated transcript from a Flemish radio station. The Director of UTP at the time, in a correspondence to a colleague, wrote that the manuscript was "at once exciting, wild, controversial...a book that holds the possibilities of being one of the most talked-about and worthwhile works we have published in a long while." 50 years later, we would tend to agree with him. The Gutenberg Galaxy popularized the term 'global village,' and went on to win a Governor-General's prize, but more than that, it established McLuhan as a leader in his field, the man to go to for all things related to media theory.

    In the 1960s when The Gutenberg Galaxy was just published reviews abounded, calling McLuhan a genius for his mosaic thesis on typography. The publication Educational Leadership wrote a piece about the importance of Marshall McLuhan "He is like a thunderclap; you cannot overlook him once you have been nearby...Why should we pay attention to such a book? For one thing - and perhaps this is enough to say - it exists. It has happened, and it is not possible to act as if it has not." McLuhan was a game-changer. Ian Sowton said in Edge "...not so much a book that you read as a book which reads you." McLuhan was no fad; writing four more books in the next decade, including the 1964 Understanding Media which explored the often-quoted "the medium is the message."

    Today, in the age of the Internet, 100 years after McLuhan's birth, and 50 years since the publication of Gutenberg Galaxy, McLuhan is as relevant as ever. As festivities are ongoing worldwide for his centennial, former colleagues, students, and experts are reflecting on McLuhan's importance. B.W. Powe a former student of McLuhan's, was quoted in an article in the Toronto Star, saying that "McLuhan is still ahead of us." Wired named McLuhan their patron saint. Some say that McLuhan predicted the Internet 20 years before it came into existence when he "envisioned a computer as a research and communication device, perhaps even an 'extension of consciousness' which would do the work of a television, library, encyclopedia and personalized shopping plaza." (McLuhan's legacy is alive and tweeting)

    So grab a copy of Gutenberg Galaxy, or wait until next month for the new edition , join in the McLuhan100 festivities, and learn about the man who made sense of our contemporary world before it even happened.

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