'Feted and reviled in his own lifetime, Marshall McLuhan has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Marchessault gives a balanced and carefully considered appraisal of McLuhan’s contribution to cultural theory, which may be even more pertinent now, in the early twenty-first century, than when he originally formulated it in the 1950s and ‘60s' Jim McGuigan, Professor of Cultural Analysis, Loughborough University Why is McLuhan important? What use can we make of his approach to the media today? In this insightful critical introduction, McLuhan's contribution is carefully explained and his reputation reassessed. The book: · Explains McLuhan's key ideas · Engages with critical issues in media and contemporary art · Demonstrates the relevance of his work for students of media and communications · Addresses his methodological contribution · Revises our understanding of his place in the history of ideas. Illustrated with many examples from the network society, the book works as a guide to anyone who wants to know why McLuhan is important.
The twentieth century, and in particular the First World War, only increased the sense of urgency expressed by Arnold's critique of utilitarian culture and liberal relativism. Like the Romantics before them, the New Critics set out to critique standardization, instrumental reason, and rampant capitalism; as a solution, they stressed the autonomy and the specificity of the individual and artwork. However, unlike the Romantics, whose works they felt were too absorbed by the individual author (Eliot would advocate a return to seventeenth-century metaphysical poets), they sought to understand the function of literature in society. While Arnold had emphasized the function of criticism as a discourse that created an atmosphere conducive to great art, T.S. Eliot, I.A. Richards and F.R. Leavis sought to practise ...