- Paperback: 294 pages
- Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division; 1st edition (March 1 1962)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802060412
- ISBN-13: 978-0802060419
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #478,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man Paperback – Mar 1 1962
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Movable type, as much if not more than any meaningful arrangement of that type, transformed Renaissance consciousness--just as electronic circuitry is transforming us now. That is the basic premise of Marshall McLuhan's The Gutenberg Galaxy. New technologies create new human environments, and "technological environments are not merely passive containers but are active processes that reshape people and other technologies alike." McLuhan's second book, The Gutenberg Galaxy was published in 1962, won the Canadian Governor General's Medal that same year, and pushed McLuhan toward international prominence. Like most of McLuhans's other work--Understanding Media or The Global Village, for example--The Gutenberg Galaxy is a rich, dense text that draws freely, almost frantically, from works of philosophy, economics, political theory, history, and especially literature. There are liberal doses of Shakespeare--text and commentary--sprinkled throughout, as well as trenchant appropriations from Rabelais, Cervantes, Leibnitz, Blake, Joyce, and many others. Attempting to match his medium to his metaphors, McLuhan structures his book using what he calls "a mosaic or field approach" and ends up producing more than 100 short sections separated by pithy glosses in large bold type, such as "Schizophrenia may be a necessary consequence of literacy," or " Nobody ever made a grammatical error in a non-literate society." Today's reader might find the "mosaic of perpetually interacting forms" into which the author organizes his data and quotations distinctly Web-like. Indeed, one could say of McLuhan and his complex rhetorical circuitry what McLuhan himself says about Shakespeare: "His insights appear so richly in his lines that it is very difficult to select among them." --Russell Prather
'One of the most stimulating and important books that has been written in our time.'(Saturday Night)
'Endlessly stimulating, informative, and liberating.'(The Observer Weekend Review) See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Another way of looking at this is to say that in McLuhan's view, history is not determined by politics or economics or weather or science per se so much as by our media--the "extensions of man." This book is a must-read followup to anyone who liked "Understanding Media"; it's also a great book to cut one's teeth on before reading "Understanding Media" because it's a more traditional (i.e., formal and linear) type of academic work. And undeniably brilliant. For what it's worth, I was a communications major at the University of Virginia in the mid-1970s when reading McLuhan's work was rougher than it is now; many of his concepts like "global village" have since filtered thru society. But I read all of McLuhan's media-oriented writings, wrote term papers on him, and feel as though I benefited as a result--he's the main reason I'm a writer today.
McLuhan makes his case that: technology shapes our experience, and that to be unaware of technology's pervasive influence is to succumb to "robo-centrism." His insightful analysis of the effects of technology leads him to focus on the causes, believing that awareness of the causes can modify the effects. "The theme of this book is not that there is anything good or bad about print but that unconsciousness of the effect of any force is a disaster, especially a force we have made ourselves." And so, "Some may feel that life is too valuable and delightful a thing to be spent in such arbitrary and involuntary automatism."
How Professor McLuhan ever foresaw the effects of technology on out society so clearly is forever a mystery; but we should be glad that he did!
McLuhan writes with such clear vision about his own era of electronic media, foreshadowing the coming digital age. In TGG, his focus in on the print word, as he collects examples of how literacy has shaped man's psyche. The examples are great, enlightening, and I think essential for understanding the western world's journey into the digital and internet ages, and how print had shaped man for centuries. The electronic words has changed us, how we interact with the world, and this books gives a lot of clues as to where that change touches us fundamentally.
For what it's worth, I found TGG a bit more difficult to read than some of his other works. The topic is dense, and borderline metaphysical & psychological in nature. It's certainly worth a slow, careful examination. For anyone interested in the self, communication and our environment, McLuhan gives a valuable perspective from a time when great changes were just forming.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Business & Investing
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Media Studies
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology
- Books > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Industrial, Manufacturing & Operational Systems > Manufacturing
- Books > Qualifying Textbooks - Fall 2007 > Engineering
- Books > Qualifying Textbooks - Fall 2007 > Humanities
- Books > Qualifying Textbooks - Fall 2007 > Science
- Books > Science & Math > History & Philosophy > History of Technology