'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.
In order to understand the centrality of pedagogy in McLuhan's enterprise, we need to uncover the tension in his intellectual formation between the historical sense inherited from the New Critics and Catholicism. That is, between the materiality of language and perception, and the transcendentalism of Catholicism. Let me conclude Part I by turning to McLuhan's conversion, which brings to all his writings an underlying coherence, thematic unity and, most certainly, direction.
While McLuhan's religious devotion was never a part of his public persona and was never revealed in his cultural theories, it was deeply present in his thinking. McLuhan's mind and thought are without doubt one of ‘the best syntheses yet achieved of the Catholic legacy as this was developed in Aquinas, Joyce, and Eliot’ ...