The Gutenberg Galaxy

Front Cover
University of Toronto Press, Jul 31, 2011 - Social Science - 336 pages

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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Review: The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man

User Review  - George Walker - Goodreads

This book compliments Elizabeth L. Eisenstein's book "the Printing Press as an Agent of Change. As mcLuhan has said "We are today as far into the electric age as the Elizabethans had advanced into the ... Read full review

Review: The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man

User Review  - Thadd - Goodreads

An astonishing book, a dry one, about the effects of the Gutenberg press, a device that shocked the church, brought about new religions, started wars and changed the human race. In different sections ... Read full review


McLuhans Compass for the Voyage to a World of Electric Words
Extending The Gutenberg Galaxy
Intertwining Figure and Ground in The Gutenberg Galaxy
The Gutenberg Galaxy
Medieval illumination gloss and sculpture alike were aspects of the art of memory central to scribal culture
For the oral man the literal text contains all possible levels of meaning
The sheer increase in the quantity of information movement favoured the visual organization of knowledge and the rise of perspective even before t...
Bacons Adam is a medieval mystic and Miltons a trade union organizer
How far did the massproduced page of print become a substitute for auricular confession?
Aretino like Rabelais and Cervantes proclaimed the meaning of Typography as Gargantuan Fantastic Suprahuman
Marlowe anticipated Whitmans barbaric yawp by setting up a national PA system of blank verse a rising iambic system of sound to suit the new succ...
Print in turning the vernaculars into mass media or closed systems created the uniform centralizing forces of modern nationalism
The divorce of poetry and music was first reflected by the printed page
The oral polyphony of the prose of Nashe offends against lineal and literary decorum
The printing press was at first mistaken for an engine of immortality by everybody except Shakespeare

The same clash between written and oral structures of knowledge occurs in medieval social life
The medieval world ended in a frenzy of applied knowledge new medieval knowledge applied to the recreation of antiquity
Renaissance Italy became a kind of Hollywood collection of SETS of antiquity and the new visual antiquarianism of the Renaissance provided an ave...
Medieval idols of the king
The invention of typography confirmed and extended the new visual stress of applied knowledge providing the first uniformly repeatable COMMO...
A fixed point of view becomes possible with print and ends the image as a plastic organism
How the NATURAL MAGIC of the CAMERA OBSCURA anticipated Hollywood in turning the spectacle of the external world into a consumer com...
St Thomas More offers a plan for a bridge over the turbulent river of scholastic philosophy
Scribal culture could have neither authors nor publics such as were created by typography
The medieval book trade was a secondhand trade even as with the dealing today in OLD MASTERS
Until more than two centuries after printing nobody discovered how to maintain a single tone or attitude throughout a prose composition
Later medieval visual stress muddied liturgical piety as much as electronicfield pressure has clarified it today
The INTERFACE of the Renaissance was the meeting of medieval pluralism and modern homogeneity and mechanism a formula for blitz and meta...
Peter Ramus and John Dewey were the two educational SURFERS or waveriders of antithetic periods the Gutenberg and the Marconi or electronic
Rabelais offers a vision of the future of print culture as a consumers paradise of applied knowledge
The celebrated earthy tactility of Rabelais is a massive backwash of receding manuscript culture
Typography as the first mechanization of a handicraft is itself the perfect instance not of a new knowledge but of applied knowledge
Every technology contrived and OUTERED by man has the power to numb human awareness during the period of its first interiorization
With Gutenberg Europe enters the technological phase of progress when change itself becomes the archetypal norm of social life
Applied knowledge in the Renaissance had to take the form of translation of the auditory into visual terms of the plastic into retinal form
Typography tended to alter language from a means of perception and exploration to a portable commodity
Typography is not only a technology but is in itself a natural resource or staple like cotton or timber or radio and like any staple it shapes not only pr...
The passion for exact measurement began to dominate the Renaissance
The printmade split between head and heart is the trauma which affects Europe from Machiavelli till the present
The Machiavellian mind and the merchant mind are at one in their simple faith in the power of segmental division to rule all in the dichotomy of po...
Dantzig explains why the language of number had to be increased to meet the needs created by the new technology of letters
How the Greeks encountered the confusion of tongues when numbers invaded Euclidean space
The great sixteenth century divorce between art and science came with accelerated calculators
Francis Bacon PR voice for the MODERNI had both his feet in the Middle Ages
A strange wedding of the medieval Book of Nature and the new book from movable types was conducted by Francis Bacon
The portability of the book like that of the easelpainting added much to the new cult of individualism
The uniformity and repeatability of print created the POLITICAL ARITHMETIC of the seventeenth century and the HEDONISTIC CALCULUS of t...
The typographic logic created THE OUTSIDER the alienated man as the type of integral that is intuitive and IRRATIONAL man
Cervantes confronted typographic man in the figure of Don Quixote
Typographic man can express but is helpless to read the configurations of print technology
The historians although aware that nationalism originated in the sixteenth century have yet no explanation of this passion that preceded theory
Nationalism insists on equal rights among individuals and among nations alike
The citizen armies of Cromwell and Napoleon were the ideal manifestations of the new technology
The Spaniards had been immunized against typography by their ageold quarrel with the Moors
Print had the effect of purifying Latin out of existence
Typography extended its character to the regulation and fixation of languages
Print altered not only the spelling and grammar but the accentuation and inflection of languages and made BAD GRAMMAR possible
The levelling of inflexion and of wordplay became part of the program of applied knowledge in the seventeenth century
Print created national uniformity and government centralism but also individualism and opposition to government as such
Nobody ever made a grammatical error in a nonliterate society
The reduction of the tactile qualities of life and language constitute the refinement sought in the Renaissance and repudiated now in the electronic age
The new time sense of typographic man is cinematic and sequential and pictorial
The denuding of conscious life and its reduction to a single level created the new world of the UNCONSCIOUS in the seventeenth century The stage ...
Philosophy was as naive as science in its unconscious acceptance of the assumptions or dynamic of typography
Heidegger surfboards along on the electronic wave as triumphantly as Descartes rode the mechanical wave
Typography cracked the voices of silence
The Gutenberg galaxy was theoretically dissolved in 1905 with the discovery of curved space but in practice it had been invaded by the telegraph tw...
Popes DUNCIAD indicts the printed book as the agent of a primitivistic and Romantic revival Sheer visual quantity evokes the magical resonance of t...
The new collective unconscious Pope saw as the accumulating backwash of private selfexpression
The last book of THE DUNCIAD proclaims the metamorphic power of mechanically applied knowledge as a stupendous parody of the Eucharist
THE GALAXY RECONFIGURED or the Plight of Mass Man in an Individualist Society
Bibliographic Index
Index of Chapter Glosses

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About the author (2011)

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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