Marshall McLuhan Unbound (2005) Edited by Eric McLuhan & W. Terrence Gordon

26Mar21

Published by Gingko Press – 412 pages, Softcover – 6″ x 9 1/4″ (150 x 235 mm) – 20 individual offprints in a slipcase – English – ISBN: 978-1-58423-051-9

The essay is for exploring; the book, for explaining. Such was McLuhan’s philosophy about these two forms. The essay is the freer form and one better suited to exploration than the longer meditation, the book.
This startling new series puts the reader in the place of colleague and co-researcher. Instead of giving the reader just another collection of articles and interviews, McLuhan Unbound gives you offprints of the original essays. See how the two McLuhans, the literary academic and the public media expert are really one. Some of these articles were written before the subsequent book was envisioned: they are preliminary forays into new territory. Some were written after the book and encapsulate major themes; some set out additional discoveries or matters left out of the book; some present material discovered as a result of writing the book.
The McLuhan Unbound offprints series is not the last word in presenting McLuhan’s ideas and discoveries, but the first. (Source: https://tinyurl.com/5nn7z4zk)
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The following quotes above come from #7, “The Humanities in the Electronic Age.” They are typical rich McLuhanesque insights, sprinkled with references to Gibbon, Joyce, A. N. Whitehead, Shakespeare, Poe, Bertrand Russell, Leonardo de Vinci, C. P. Snow, Milton. It’s heady stuff, especially for those of us who are fans of Understanding Media:

— We are in an electronic age “in which we stand as primitives of an underdeveloped and unknown culture.”
— It is said that the main discovery of the nineteenth century was “the discovery of the technique of invention.”
— “The great discovery of the twentieth century is the technique of suspended judgment.”
— The humanist is a Luddite “because he gets a thrill of imagined potential from the fragmentary…”
The humanist is more fascinated by the incomplete Hyperion  of Keats than by the complete Prelude of Wordsworth.
— In mid-twentieth century, AT&T was the largest business in the world “with a gross national product equal to the entire Canadian economy,” and got that way by “doing nothing but move information. No wheels, no shafts, no belts, just the movement of information.”
— “With the computer all move out of the age of number and statistics into the age of the curve and the simultaneous awareness of structures.”
With satellite broadcasting … we move, scientist and humanist alike, into the world of instant and inexpensive access to anything and anybody on the globe.

Individual Essay Titles in the Slipcase
0 – General Introduction to Unbound Project
1 – Printing & Social Change
2 – The Effect of the Printed Book on Language in the 16th Century
3 – The Argument: Causality in the Electric World
4 – The Relation of Environment to Anti-Environment
5 – At the Moment of Sputnik the Planet Became a Global Theater in Which There Are No Spectators But Only Actors
6 – Culture Without Literacy
7 – The Humanities in the Electronic Age
8 – Introduction to The Bias of Communication (Harold Innis, First Edition, 1951)
9 – American Advertising
10 – Inside Blake & Hollywood
11 – G.K. Chesterton: A Practical Mystic
12 – Roles, Masks & Performances
13 – Space, Time & Poetry
14 – New Media as Practical Forms
15 – Notes on the Media as Art Forms
16 – The Media Fit the Battle of Jericho
17 – The Media is the Message
18 – Myth & Mass Media
19 – Laws of the Media


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