The Gutenberg Galaxy

University of Toronto Press
5
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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.

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About the author

Marshall McLuhan (1911 - 1980) was a literature scholar and the founder of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Toronto Press
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Published on
Jul 31, 2011
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781442660816
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism." Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book. This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) received his PhD in English literature from Cambridge University and taught in the United States and Canada. He is best known, however, as the founding father of media studies. McLuhan was Director of the Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. Among his ground-breaking works on the psychic and social dimensions of communication technology are The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962); Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man (1964); and The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967).
Michel Moos' premise is that Marshall McLuhan's importance derives from his achievements in rethinking the entire process of education and training itself, not with his popular fame as media guru, and he analyzes McLuhan's work from the feedback effect his vision continues to provide, rather than from the perspective of interpreting McLuhan's pronouncements on the electronic media. Moos contrasts McLuhan's thoughts with those of such thinkers as Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson, Friedrich Kittler, Donna Haraway, and Deleuze and Guattari, and renders an updated account of the effect of the mass media on our society and ourselves.
The concept "the medium is the message" is the hub around which Marshall McLuhan's explorations revolved. McLuhan's interests ranged from sixteenth-century literature to twentieth-century business practices. With wit and literary flair, he reported the media's influence on society and on the individual. He concluded that we could not escape being transformed by the forces that are hidden deeply within the electronic telecommunications revolution of the sixties. For McLuhan, the new mediums of film, television, and the emerging realm of the digital were the modern equivalent of Gutenberg's printing press.
Essays by M. McLuhan. Edited and with a Commentary by M.A. Moos.
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