W. Terrence Gordon’s Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding — the authorized McLuhan biography.
(Haven’t read Philip Marchand’s earlier and presumably ‘unauthorized’ take; wonder what he wrote to get so thoroughly omitted from this account.)
There’s a treasure trove here of context and digested primary resources for understanding the lived development of McLuhan’s thinking. The descriptions of midcentury academic culture are in themselves a striking glimpse at how much the institution itself has changed: cigar-smoking machismo! domestic salons! informally offered and abundant job opportunities! (I’m not saying those were better days, by the way: 200 pages in there’s only been one woman scholar mentioned.)
There’s also the simultaneously humbling and inspiring object lesson of how a Canadian lit prof became a global celebrity. At the core of this subplot seems to be a personal agenda composed in equal parts of arrogant hubris, vast imagination, and — less obviously but no less importantly — a symptomatically postcolonial ambivalence about Canadian culture and society.
About AcademicalismIt's the scholarly blog of Mark A. McCutcheon, Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Athabasca U.
E-mail: academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com This blog is Creative Commons 2.5 (Canada) licensable.
Header: Detail of Autumn Wind (2014) by Danielle Gardner.
- @culturelibre @copibec @universitelaval @ScienceBienComm @crdp_udem Thank you, @culturelibre, for your arguments an… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… 1 day ago
- .@culturelibre: why authors should opt out of Copibec class action against @universitelaval: culturelibre.ca/s/6208 #FairDealing #cdnpse 1 day ago
- @AthabascaU Thanks! The full text of the talk I gave yesterday is here: wp.me/poR4A-PZ #ABpse #cdnpse #Humanities 4 days ago
- Follow Academicalism on WordPress.com
Top postsGame Of Thrones isn't escapist, it's about the new feudalism
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and research as a public good
The copyfight, science fiction, and social media
On the error-riddled writing of The Hunger Games
Zombies and the political economy of precarity
Canadian IP Office gets its own quiz wrong