Where Seas and Fables Meet: Parables, Aphorisms, Fragments, Thought

A Review by B. Andrew Paskauskas, Toronto, April 7, 2015

On the back pack page of Where Seas and Fables Meet: …, we read that B.W. Powe is first and foremost a philosopher; followed by poet, novelist, and essayist. The ordering is fitting because here, in his latest contribution to world literature, Powe forges in the smithy of his soul a remarkable assembly of shorts – Parables, Aphorisms, Fragments, Thought – that differs significantly from most other philosophers of the not too distant past. Indeed, his writing is highly accessible (it is neither abstruse, nor is it laced with terroristic obscurantism).

Seas and Fables… exudes profound, at times humorous, thought provoking insights into the human soul. The principal universal of interest for Powe is Light. Concomitant with his consuming passion with Light, and all of its manifestations, is the Structure (at one time the System, and its equivalents) which encompasses all forms of mind and soul crushing (political, technological, emotional, spiritual, economic, and so on). As a countermeasure to its onslaughts Powe identifies possible psychological strategies for liberation, or attempts to escape through self-expression; his own and those employed by others (Blake, Nietzsche, Whitman, Kafka, Kubrick, Bellow, Yuri in Zhivago, Grace in … Seas and Fables … ).

Physicists tell us that if we were to travel at the speed of light, a universal constant of nature, time would stop entirely. At the still point, where past and future are gathered, viz. Eliot’s Four Quartets (an acknowledged favorite of Powe’s), we might consider the possibility of encountering God, who always was and always will be.

It is there, at that singular point, where time stands still, that the laws of Space-Time breakdown, and we may experience what the theologians call the beatific vision (universal-absolute Light). This is why Powe’s fascination with Light and accompanying images (waves, ripples, vibration-beings, Tsunamis of the global soul, shadows, cosmos … ) or transcendent realms – metamorphosis, theos (by extension theoria, theosis), sacred, noosphere, fantasy, signs, words, creation, angels, Mystery, Word, Spirit, grace, metamorphosis, infinity – in this and his other works (Outage; A Tremendous Canada of Light; ed. Light Onwords, Light Onwards; Mystic Trudeau; The Unsaid Passing; These Shadows Remain; … Apocalypse and Alchemy, and others) is of such crucial significance – by following his inner voices and not the orders of others, he creates a path towards the blessing of peace: to breakthrough the Structure, and embrace the Divine.


Book Review: B.W. Powe, Where Seas and Fables Meet: Parables, Aphorisms, Fragments, Thought (Toronto: Guernica, 2015) by J.S. Porter

Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk from Kentucky, had the ambition of writing A Book of Everything: “I have always wanted to write about everything…a book in which everything can go. A book with a little of everything that creates itself out of everything. That has its own life.” He wrote these words twelve years before his death in Bangkok by accidental electrocution in 1968. With the posthumous Asian Journal Merton was finally able to realize his ambition – a book of everything –  his last photographs, speeches, prayers,  travel notes, reading notes and poems.

Still early in his career, B.W. Powe in Where Seas and Fables Meet has written a book of everything. A book of stories, analysis and theory, Wilde Things, Marginalia and Delphic Ironies.  Along the way, he writes an essay on the film director Stanley Kubrick and positions Kafka as the one indispensable seer of our time.

The Wilde Things are a kind of homage to Oscar Wilde – jokes, puns, paradoxes and witticisms. Powe at play. (He thinks Wilde should be called Whitman and Whitman Wilde.)  The Delphic Ironies tend to be Powe in thought.  And the stories, Powe imagining.  He blends paradox, technology-probes, story and dream into an exuberant affirmation of human possibility. While you’re reading, keep in mind the closest parallel I can think of – the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces which also joins poetry and politics, journalism and storytelling.  “A neo-romantic hyper-modernist,” a bricoleur with his bricolage, Powe embraces the world, both the physical and the electric. He’s a magpie picking up life-sustaining seeds wherever he can find them.

          The stories for me are the most enchanting part of the book. (Powe uses the words fable, parable and story interchangeably.) One story has to do with the mystery of finding a copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Story by the open-pit fireplace of a cottage by a lake. No one claims to have put it there. Another has to do with why Thomas Aquinas abandoned his writing and didn’t complete his Summa Theologica.

My favourite stories are:  1. The story of Mary, a young French girl full of grace, who believes in spite of her psychiatrist and the asylum in which she finds herself that “All is well.” (Was the story inspired by Julian of Norwich’s words, “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well?”) 2. The story of the boy and the angel, entitled “The Sad Angel.” A boy plays with an angel until he grows up and goes to school and leaves behind childish things. Years later on a vacation in Brazil he sees a sad angel in a cathedral. For a moment it seems that the boy, now a man, might, through a work of art, regain his childhood loss. But the moment passes. He doesn’t recover the source of his first enchantment. (Did Powe have Dennis Lee’s Nicholas Knock and the honkabeest in the back of his mind?) 3. The Story of the Yoga teacher with the posture of a tree called “The Tree of Paradise.”

In this story, a stretching woman in a tree-like balancing position in her backyard suddenly feels “a warm blow to her right cheek” and falls, breaking her leg.  Different theories ensue: The son believes she was hit by a comet; then he modifies his point of view a little by saying she was hit by a light. The husband believes she lost her footing and fell over backwards.  The woman believes that she fell from a tree while reaching for a red maple leaf, a symbol of love. Which story is true? Like Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, you can pick the one that is richest for you. The woman goes on to found a Yoga school called Comet Yoga.

These three stories demonstrate the power of story – the power to transport, to cast spells, and to enrapture. In a mini-essay on story called “The Story,” which itself transforms from a lecture on the deadening effects of elaboration and explanation to a parable on story’s power and its capacity to incorporate explanation into new formations of narrative. This short piece brings to mind Susan Sontag’s famous essay “Against Interpretation,” where the intellect tries to tame art, but art slips through its nooses.

Ovid, and the Canadian Ovid, Marshall McLuhan, are the guiding spirits of this book. Things change, viewpoints change, the self changes and you must resist the Structure (Powe’s word) that would calcify, shackle or inhibit the free-flow of the imagination.

“We are all under sentence of death,” as Walter Pater reminds us in his conclusion to Renaissance, “but with a sort of indefinite reprieve.”

“[W]e have an interval, and then our place knows us no more. Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, the wisest, at least among ‘the children of this world,’ in art and song. For our one chance lies in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into the given time.”

B.W. Powe, like a child of the world, fills his interval ecstatically in art, song and fable. He delivers multiple pulsations. Where Seas and Fables Meet is his most personal and intimate book. It’s Powe unbuttoned, free-ranging and wild. It’s my personal favourite among his ever-growing contribution to Canadian letters.

 B.W. Powe

This is a conference that McLuhanists and media ecologists, among others, would be interested in.


*an image from Sean Kernan, Secret Books

BABEL Conference: OFF THE BOOKS: Making, Breaking, Binding, Burning, Leaving, Gathering

The BABEL Working Group is a non-hierarchical scholarly collective and para-institutional desiring-assemblage. BABEL’s chief commitment is the cultivation of a more mindful being-together with others who work alongside us in the ruined towers of the rubble of the post-historical university. 

From Oct. 9-11, the University of Toronto will host the BABEL Working Group Conference “OFF THE BOOKS: Making, Breaking, Binding, Burning, Leaving, Gathering.” The conference has a dual focus: on the one hand, a rigorous study of book history and media studies, and on the other, serious discussions about academic activism, para-academic pursuits, and the current state and future directions of the modern university. The conference also has a number of artistic and performative contributions.

The full conference program can be found here: http://babel-meeting.org/2015-meeting/2015-program/ .

2015 Program | BABEL Working Group

PROGRAM 4th BIENNIAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP *all images from Sean Kernan, Secret Books ~ Off the Books: Making, Breaking, Binding, Burning, Leaving …

Read more…

Anyone affiliated with the University of Toronto can attend the conference for no cost at all. If anyone would like to register for the conference (so we can make you a name tag to wear at the conference itself), please tell them to email the conference email — babel.conference@gmail.com — and state that they are affiliated with the U of T, and that they plan on attending the conference. They can also feel free to email me at liza.blake@utoronto.ca if they have any questions.

Thank you again for your contribution, and we hope that members of English can take advantage of the exciting activities we have planned!

All my best,
Dr Liza Blake
Assistant Professor of English, University of Toronto
Assistant Professor of English and Drama, University of Toronto Mississauga


Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman: University of Toronto, Marshall McLuhan Centenary Fellow, Dean’s Professor for Interdisciplinary Innovation Producer: Blue Oyster Cult, Clash, Dream Syndicate, Dictators, et al

McLuhan Fellow Sandy Pearlman (2013-2014) in conversation with Carl Haber 

What do Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice, Thomas Edison’s Dolls, and the Grateful Dead Have in Common? 
Carl Haber, of course! Come hear how MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow, particle physicist, audio preservationist, and Digital Humanities scholar Carl Haber went from tracking subatomic particles to saving the world’s rarest and most fragile sound recordings. He and his colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California developed IRENE, a technology that extracts high-quality sound recordings from degraded and broken analog media. Wax cylinders, shellac, lacquer, metal discs, and tinfoil – all have been used to record the voices and the music of the past. Without IRENE, many of these recordings would have been lost forever. Now, they form a lasting part of the world’s cultural and musical heritage.

Carl Haber is an experimental physicist. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia University and is a Senior Scientist in the Physics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California. Most of his research interest involves the development of instrumentation and methods for detecting and measuring particles created at high energy colliders such as the Tevatron at Fermilab. These interests have also led him, and his colleagues, to apply techniques in use in this research to the topic of sound restoration. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Find out more at: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/892/

Lecture Title: Don’t Go Softly into that Good Night, IRENEPreserving our Musical Heritage

Speaker: Carl Haber (Audio Preservationist & Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory)

When: Friday, October 2, 2015, 3:006:00 pm

Where: Room 120, Edward Johnson Building, Faculty of Music, 80 Queen’s Park

To attend, send an email to: centre.ilp@utoronto.ca

4 visionaries

By Greg Satell

Successful people solve problems.  Look at any great fortune, whether it be Carnegie, Ford or Gates and you find that the source of their vast accomplishment was a problem solved.  Even more prosaic executives spend most of their time solving one problem or another, with greater or lesser skill.

The difference, of course, can be attributed to the scale and difficulty of the problems.  All too often, we get so mired down in day-to-day challenges that the bigger issues fall by the wayside, being left for another day which never seems to come.  That, in the final analysis, is the difference between the mundane and the sublime.

With that in mind, we must pay special attention to those whose ideas had impact far beyond their own lifespan.  It is they who were able to see not only the problems of their day, but ones that, although they seemed minor or trivial at the time, would become consequential—even determinant—in years to come.  Here are four such men and what we can learn from them.

Marshall McLuhan And The Global Village

Where Vannevar Bush saw the transformative potential of science, Marshal McLuhan was one of the first to see the subtle, but undeniable influence of popular culture.  While many at the time thought of mass media as merely the flotsam and jetsam of the modern age, McLuhan saw that the study of things like newspapers, radio and TV could yield important insights.

Central to his ideas about culture was his concept of media as “extensions of man.”  Following this line of thought, he argued that Gutenberg’s printing press not only played a role in spreading information, but also in shaping human thought. Essentially, the medium is the message.  Interestingly, these ideas led him to very much the same place as Bush.

As he wrote in 1962, nearly 30 years before the invention of the World Wide Web:

The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.

McLuhan argued further that the new age of electronic media would disrupt the private experience and specialization that the dominance of printed media brought about and usher in a new era of collective, transnational experience that he called the global village.  Anybody who watches global news networks or surfs the Web can see what he meant.

Importantly, however, he did not see the global village as a peaceful place.  Rather than promoting widespread harmony and understanding, he predicted that the ability to share experiences across vast chasms of time and space would lead to a new form of tribalism, a result in a “release of human power and aggressive violence” greater than ever in history.

It has become all to clear what he meant by that as well. (Read about the other 3 visionaries here: http://tinyurl.com/puym5sq )

Marshall McLuhan at the Coach House, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto (courtesy of Robert Lansdale Photography, U of Toronto Archives)

Please join us for our Fall quarterly meeting at the historic Coach House where Marshall McLuhan taught at his Centre for Culture and Technology from 1967 to 1980. The McLuhan Legacy Network (MLN) was established in 2011 to celebrate the centenary of McLuhan’s birth on July 21, 1911 in Edmonton Alberta. And we have continued to meet on a varying schedule ever since. The MLN also holds a celebratory McLuhan birthday lunch on July 21 every summer.

Location: The Coach House, adjacent to the rear of the Kelly Library, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto  –  Time: 7:30 PM, Monday, October 5

The agenda will include the following, not necessarily in this order:-

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Rita Leistner, author of Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan, (see http://www.lookingformarshallmcluhan.com/ ) which was a finalist for a Media Ecology Association Book Award last year, will briefly talk about her book and her recent exhibition of it at Photoville in New York Last month.
  • Rita Leistner will then share an audio recording of a Marshall McLuhan lecture delivered in California, which came into her possession this year that likely has never been heard by anyone locally.
  • Paolo Granata from the University of Bologna, who is a McLuhan scholar and Fellow and visiting professor at the iSchool will discuss his proposed research while he is at U of T, as well as the plans for next year’s Media Ecology Association Convention at the University of Bologna in June, the MEA’s first convention in Europe.
  • Dr. Arthur McLuhan, grandson of Marshall McLuhan and a recently minted PhD who now teaches at York University will talk about a project he is leading called mLab, with a focus on Media Literacy and his interaction with the Marshall McLuhan Highschool.
  • General Discussion

We have no budget for coffee or refreshments at this time, so feel free to bring your own.


The McLuhan Legacy Network sponsors two Google Groups: A McLuhan Legacy group that was initiated in the McLuhan centenary year of 2011, and a Rethinking the Book group concerned with books in the digital age. Both are low volume groups that share information as required. If you would like to join either or both groups, email Robert Logan or yours truly, or speak to one of us at the next meeting.

Andrew Crystall (Standing left)

Please join us as guest speaker Andrew Chrystall, Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing at Massey University, New Zealand and current McLuhan Fellow (The McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the Coach House Institute) launches this year’s iSchool Colloquia Series, with his talk “Unfinished McLuhan: Failures, Unfinished Projects and the Art of Kintsugi.”

Would we think more of Milton if his masterpiece was incomplete? What about McLuhan? What if all we had were fragments? Broken (or double) perspective is a way of involving an audience in the action and providing an inclusive vision. Here, this presentation seeks to do precisely this by offering a retrospective of McLuhan’s failures and incomplete projects—his musicals, plays, films, TV projects, political manoeuvres, and unpublished works—through the lens of archival fragments. The goal is to nuance and contribute to an evolving portrait of McLuhan, to open up spaces for future explorations of unsafe ideas, and enable (if not also motivate) us to walk beyond yet beside him.

Dr Andrew Chrystall is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing at Massey University, New Zealand. His research seeks to develop and extend the work of Marshall McLuhan and the Toronto School of Communication. In addition to his primary discipline(s)—Media and Communication Studies—Dr. Chrystall has a background in Public Relations, Sociology and Theology. Dr Chrystall also likes surfing, playing judo and is an underwhelming jazz guitarist.

Light refreshments will be provided. All iSchool Colloquia talks are free and open to the public.

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 – 16:00 to 18:00
Location: 140 St. George St, Rm. 538

Information Source: http://tinyurl.com/ooqz634

Professor Paul Levinson says that teaching at Fordham has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

By Katie Meyer

Paul Levinson, longtime Communication and Media Studies professor at Fordham, is a bona fide writer. Author of academic papers, countless articles, several novels and a whole lot of blog posts, he says he’s always had an affinity for it. But that is now. Back in 1971, when he was just starting out after college, he’d never had anything published.

Back then, he was doing a different kind of writing — songwriting. He wrote for bands around the New York City area, and also for himself on the side. He even released an album called Twice Upon a Rhyme, which he said “sold negative copies,” although he added that recording it was a fun experience.

But back to 1971. That was the year Paul McCartney released his second solo album Ram, which was heavily criticized. The Village Voice published a particularly scathing review and Levinson, who liked the albumn, was compelled to write a letter in disagreement. To his surprise, the newspaper published his letter as a feature length article and mailed him a check for $60. “I said hey, this is good stuff,” Levinson remembered.

He started writing more articles on music, and continued doing so until he decided, in the mid 70s, to get his masters degree and eventually, a Ph.D in communications from New York University.

This kicked off an eventful period in Levinson’s life that seems to have set the tone for the rest for his career.

During his graduate school years he met and worked with a man who was to be one of his biggest academic influences — Marshall McLuhan, a giant of the communications field. The two of them met through Levinson’s dissertation mentor Neil Postman (incidentally, another major figure in communications), who urged Levinson to write an introduction for one of McLuhan’s books. McLuhan liked it, requested to meet him, and the two became friends, collaborating several times over the years.

Eventually, Levinson decided to start teaching and began working as a graduate professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and soon the New School as a graduate professor. He stayed at the New School until the early 80s, and while there he and his wife started a teaching company called Connected Education that offered courses completely online in partnership with the New School.

“It was really ahead of its time, he said. “These were really early days, I mean the 1980s, there wasn’t even Internet then.”
Levinson and his wife ran the company for ten years, and he also taught in a few other places, including Hofstra University. In 1998 he landed a job at Fordham, and has been there ever since.

All things considered, he said, it’s the best place he has ever taught. Though he prefers to teach graduate classes (at Fordham, he has taught mostly undergraduate courses) he said Fordham’s students make the difference.
“I’ve found they are by far the most interested…the moment I got to Fordham, there was a certain energy in all the classrooms that’s continued. It makes it much more enjoyable to teach,” Levinson said.

But despite Fordham being a satisfying position, that’s not all that has occupied Levinson during his tenure. He has also been writing. And writing a lot. He published his first novel, a science fiction mystery called “The Silk Code,” in 1999, and since then he has published five more novels and 10 nonfiction books. He most enjoys writing science fiction, and has since he was young.

“For me, at least, there’s not much difference between writing and talking,” he explained. “I don’t think of writing as something that pulls me out of the world. I often do my best writing when I’m right in the thick of it.”

These days, he still spends his days in the thick of quite a few things. In addition to his writing (for his own books, and for science fiction magazines) and his teaching, he is a frequent guest media commentator on shows that include the likes of The O’Reilly Factor, CBS’s Nightline, various NPR shows and a long list of others.

He enjoys sharing his views. And like his other pursuits, he does not plan on stopping anytime soon. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/qzatp5x ).

Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium

Professors in graduate and undergraduate classes around the world use Digital McLuhan to help their students put the Internet into perspective. This book applies media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s ideas from the television age to modern technologies. Wired‘s Kevin Kelly said about Digital McLuhan, “Paul Levinson completes McLuhan’s pioneering work. Read this book if you want to decipher life on the screen.” The New York Times said “Levinson performs a useful service … [he] applies McLuhan’s work to almost every facet of modern communications” and in another article “Digital McLuhan presents McLuhan in a new light, [for] a generation grappling with the transforming effects of cyberspace, cell phones and virtual reality.” Digital McLuhan was included on the late Robert Anton Wilson’s ” Recommended Reading List,” of “the bare minimum of what everybody really needs to chew and digest before they can converse intelligently about the 21st Century.” Digital McLuhan won the “2000 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship” (Source: http://tinyurl.com/njrxer3 )

In a 1959 talk and a 1964 book Marshall McLuhan famously declares that “the medium is the message.” By 1967 the title of a typographically adventuresome book turns “message” into “massage”. In each case McLuhan is urging his audience to care less about the apparent content of communication (what happens to be “on” TV or “in” a book) and more about the psychodynamics of the particular medium (the effects of television or the book per se). Although later interpreters have viewed the medium=message/massage tenet as central to McLuhan’s thinking, there has been little sustained attention to the practical role of inscription, publication and broadcast in his work. In short, it is time to pay closer attention to the media practice behind McLuhan’s media theory. The present talk, based on extensive researches in the McLuhan fonds at Library & Archives Canada, will survey the evidence for McLuhan’s quotidian encounters with the very media that he investigates.

This lecture by art historian and researcher Graham Larkin was delivered at the McLuhan Salon, at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin in 2011, during the centenary celebrations for the birth on July 21, 1911 of  Marshall McLuhan. It only recently became available online. Follow this link to the online Hybrid Lecture Player, which provides the best viewing, with Graham Larkin lecturing in a window at the top right, a window on the top left that shows the archive documents he’s talking about, and the text of his lecture below it: https://mcluhan.consortium.io/ .

The one hour and 42 minute lecture is divided into the following sections: Intro, McLuhan’s Media Practice, Orality, Reading/Writing, Viewing Listening/Watching, Being a Character, Research publishing, Blow-up, The Freewheeing McLuhan. And it covers the following publications: The Mechanical Bride, Counterblast, Understanding Media, The Mediaum is the Massage, The McLuhan DEW Line, Explorations.

Here is the lecture by itself for anyone not wanting to view it on the Hybrid Lecture Player:

You can download a PDF of Larkin’s lecture from here: https://mcluhan.consortium.io/images/lecture.pdf
About Graham Larkin: He lives in Ottawa, where he was curator of European & American Art at the National Gallery of Canada from 2005 to 2011. His researches into the early history of cataloguing and collecting include a doctoral dissertation (Harvard 2003) on the origins of the catalogue raisonné in 18th century print albums. While completing his dissertation, he assisted information designer Edward Tufte with the award-winning book Beautiful Evidence. Dr. Larkin has taught seminars and curated exhibitions at Harvard University, and at Stanford University where he was a Humanities Fellow from 2003-5. He has published in various journals including Print Quarterly, Word & Image, ArtForum and Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

Rita Leistner will be on a panel on the topic of The Virtual & the Physical: Responses to Photography in the Digital Age at the Photoville Pavilion on Saturday, September 12 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. For information about this event see http://tinyurl.com/nmdnfkt .

Her work will be exhibited under the title Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan: From Smartphone to Palladium 

Presented by Rita Leistner in association with The Basetrack Project

This exhibition is an extension of a key concept of the book: that the retro apps in smartphones are a symptom of our yearning for historical permanence and human connection in an increasingly digitized, remote-controlled world.

Leistner teams-up with Canadian Master Printer Bob Carnie, assisted by Paulette Michayluk, to create a series of monotypes in palladium with applied pigment—the most permanent color process known.

The experience of the exhibition, which also includes text panels from the book and a series of “didactic panels” that illustrate the process from smartphone to palladium, is like walking through Leistner’s own journey of process and discovery about communication, photography, technology, and war.

Related Programming: The Virtual and the Physical: Responses to Photography in the Digital Age

Award-winning photographer, writer, and educator Rita Leistner’s varied career has taken her from academia to war and back again, intersecting the genres of art, photojournalism, and literary criticism. She is a graduate of the International Center of Photography in New York and has a Master of Arts degree in comparative literature from the University of Toronto where she teaches the history of photojournalism and documentary photography.

Her recent book, Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan, was shortlisted for the 2015 Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology. She is co-author of several other books including Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq and The Edward Curtis Project: A Modern Picture Story.

Her photography has been exhibited and published internationally and her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines and books. Rita Leistner is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery. She has also planted over a million trees in Canada. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/ooqqzwr )

Click below for more information about the book:


Dr. Eric McLuhan (Photo by Michael McLuhan)

Book Description

A Menippean—Cynic—satire is a device for producing a specific kind of effect on the reader. Menippean satire is an active form, not a passive one: any work that produces the effect of a Menippean satire is a Menippean satire. It is the embodiment of a Cynic—of a Diogenes or a Menippus or a Lucian or a Rabelais. For centuries, it has frustrated the best efforts of critics to define it. Descriptive criteria (such as “a mixture of verse and prose”) invariably fail because the form is determinedly fluid and polymorphous, and playful: it shifts its mode of attack with every change in culture or perception. Menippists plagiarize with abandon, from anyone and any period and culture. McLuhan has found a new and potent method of coming to grips with the satires by examining their interaction with the audience: the satire does what a Cynic would, were he or she physically present. This approach accounts for every shift in technique, from the most ancient (Homer composed one, the Margites) to tomorrow afternoon, and also opens the discussion of Menippism in any and all media other than literature—TV, digital, film, radio, et al. The book ends with a litmus test for detecting Menippean satires. It is also lavishly illustrated with title pages of some of the most notorious examples in the tradition, and will be ideal as a textbook for undergraduates. 


HardbackISBN-13:978-1-4438-7760-2   –   ISBN-10:1-4438-7760-3   –   Date of Publication:01/08/2015   –   Pages / Size:250 / A5   –   Price:£47.99

Neither book is presently listed at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, so copies would have to be ordered directly from the publisher at http://www.cambridgescholars.com/cynic-satire .

Author Biography: Eric McLuhan wrote his dissertation on arguably the greatest Menippean satire of all time, Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (published by University of Toronto Press as The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake). He worked for fifteen years with Marshall McLuhan, and they co-authored numerous articles and books, such as Laws of Media: The New Science; Theories of Communication; City as Classroom; and Media and Formal Cause. He has taught and lectured at universities in Canada and the USA, at the Vatican on several occasions, and at the United Nations in New York. His recent publications include a study of perception called The Sensus Communis, Synesthesia, and the Soul; the last two of a five-book series called The Human Equation, written with master mime, Wayne Constantineau; and a study of ancient Egyptian art that reveals how 4500 years ago they invented—and used extensively in their most familiar imagery—animation and 3D.

Please note that The Sensus Communis, Synesthesia, and the Soul has not yet been published, but is at the publisher’s and soon will be published. Announcement of its publication will be made in the usual places, including this blog.


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