From Cliché to Archetype: McLuhan Discovers Zolla – A Lecture by Dr. Paolo Granata, Toronto


The Italian Cultural Institute is pleased to present the lecture“From Cliché to Archetype”: McLuhan discovers Zolla by Paolo Granata.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 – 6:30pm
Istituto Italiano di Cultura – 496 Huron St., Toronto
Free admission Infoline: 416-921-3802 ext. 221 

In 1968, The Eclipse of the Intellectual, an English translation by Raymond Rosenthal of Elémire Zolla’s famous work, first appeared in the United States.
Shortly after, in 1970, Marshall McLuhan published From Cliché to Archetype, a provocative book in some ways, co-authored with the Canadian scholar Wilfred Watson and presented as a sort ofthesaurus of critical thinking. Within this book, Zolla – with eight long quotations – plays a significant role.
This lecture will probe the influence of Zolla on McLuhan, and thereby draw together, for the first time, two ‘intellectuals’ who are both difficult to categorize and who were capable of perceiving, from the very words that the mass culture has appropriated for itself, the symptoms of a numbness to critical thinking generated by the ambiguous nature of clichés.
Both seek to cope with this anesthetic effect by appealing to the evocative power of the archetypes hidden beneath a modernity dulled by, as well as overcroweded with, clichés.
In short, McLuhan discovers in Zolla a dissonant voice in the ‘global theater’, a refined commentator who allows him to grasp a series of archetypes associated with a literary sensibility that deeply connects the two writers: Mallarmé, Joyce, Pound, Poe, Yeats, among others.
For these reasons, in celebration of the centenary of McLuhan’s birth, the decennial of whose death has been recently celebrated in an international conference held in Montepulciano by the Elémire Zolla International Research Association (AIREZ), we can consider the renowned Canadian thinker a lucid interpretor of Elémire Zolla’s intellectual legacy.

PAOLO GRANATA is professor of Digital Catalogues for Cultural Heritage at the Post-Graduate School for Art and Historic Heritage at the University of Bologna. Since 2008 he has also taught Multimedia for Cultural Heritage at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 2001 he authored the book Arte in Rete, the first rational guide on the art resources on the web ever published in Italy. Since 2005 he has worked for the research programme on Italian video art “Videoart Yearbook. L’annuario della videoarte italiana”, promoted by the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Bologna. His latest book, Arte, estetica e nuovi media, (2009), is a summary of his work for an interdisciplinary approach to new media. Currently, he is McLuhan Centenary Fellow at the McLuhan Program at University of Toronto.


Information:    Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012   –   Times: 6:30PM   –   Venue: Italiano di Cultura – 496 Huron St., Toronto   –   Presented by: Istituto Italiano di Cultura   –   In collaboration with: McLuhan Legacy Network   –   Free admission


Elémire Zolla (1926-2002)

One Response to “From Cliché to Archetype: McLuhan Discovers Zolla – A Lecture by Dr. Paolo Granata, Toronto”

  1. 1 granatapaolo

    Thank you Alex!!! That’s fantastic! See you in few days! Paolo

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