Letters of Marshall McLuhan (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
One of the seminal insights of Marshall McLuhan was that the media, through their presentations, created a new and different sort of reality. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, there were few names more widely found in the media, coupled with both praise and blame, than that of McLuhan. Since his death, however, his name has faded from public—and media—consciousness. Informed of this fact, McLuhan would undoubtedly have cited it as further evidence of the correctness of his insights.
It must be said at the outset that reading these letters will not help much in explaining the phenomenon that came to be called “McLuhanism.” Nor are these letters particularly interesting; McLuhan is not to be numbered among the notable letter writers of the English language. The reasons for this are not far to seek; McLuhan is too earnest and too much the teacher to allow for that ease of manner and polish of style which mark the best letter writers.
There was perhaps some confusion in the purposes of the three editors when compiling this work. From 100,000 pages of letters, Corinne McLuhan, Marshall McLuhan’s wife, and Matie Molinaro, his literary agent, selected some fifteen hundred letters which they believed would constitute an autobiography of McLuhan; they saw it as a tribute to him. Needing a professional editor, they selected William Toye, editorial director of Oxford University Press in Canada, who reduced the selection to about 450 letters, a...
(The entire section is 1708 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Books in Canada. XVII, April, 1988, p. 31.
The Christian Science Monitor. April 6, 1988, p. 19.
The Guardian. CXXXVIII, March 20, 1988, p. 28.
Library Journal. CXIII, May 1, 1988, p. 74.
London Review of Books. X, March 17, 1988, p. 3.
Macleans. C, December 21, 1987, p. 54.
Manchester Guardian Weekly. CXXXVIII, March 20, 1988, p. 28.
The New Republic. CXCIX, July 18, 1988, p. 35.
The Observer. March 6, 1988, p. 42.
Saturday Night. CIII, May, 1988, p. 59.
Spectator. CCLX, March 12, 1988, p. 34.
The Times Literary Supplement. May 6, 1988, p. 493.
(The entire section is 64 words.)