• Bissell, Claude. “Herbert Marshall McLuhan.” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 15-20.

18: “Understanding Media , written with verve and explosive wit, brought McLuhan great fame, but, among many academics, a kind of infamy. He had, they said, deserted the sacred word and allied himself with the infidels. He had become the sworn enemy of the book, a strangely learned exponent of pop culture. And his bias toward the oral and his questioning of the benevolent role of the printing press give some support for the cliché of criticism. Yet few writers are so persistently (often overpoweringly) bookish. When McLuhan talks about the individual book, it seems to transcend its medium – often triumphantly so in the symbolists – whereas for the favourite children of the electronic age – film, radio, and television – the medium is indeed the message, a powerful, subliminal message, that can, however be understood and controlled, especially if one diligently reads the dozen or so books that McLuhan has written.” (18)


  • Cooper, T. W. “The Unknown McLuhan.” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 50-63.

55: “A crank-out-the-concepts approach to thought was antithetical to McLuhan. His casual atmosphere for fireside probing allowed a family relatedness, and friendships nourished over cider. Out of his seminar circle of graduate students, seekers, undergraduates, friends, guest scholars, and interviewers came a relaxed form of communication which might be labeled ‘configurational learning’: numerous individuals of diverse backgrounds threw assorted perceptual ingredients into the conversation before McLuhan himself ‘tossed the salad’ or scrambled the components into a different pattern of insight. His books were written in a similar manner: quotations were selected from a multitude of exploratory thinkers before McLuhan stirred the scholastic stew and spiced the mix with ‘percepts.'”


  • Dubinsky, Lon. “McLuhan’s Legacy [review].” Dalhousie Review 69 (Spring 1989): 127-32.

128: “Wherever he was, institutional forces continually shaped the man and his ideas to the point that his life work culminated in the offering of laws of media. As Marchand shows even McLuhan was unable to entirely avoid the expectations and demands of the present-day university. He did not fully participate in the everyday politics of the academy but inevitably, he desired acceptance and respect on its terms. In the end he apparently hoped that an objective and scientific account of the media would finally provide the credibility that had eluded him.”


  • Forsdale, Louis. “Marshall McLuhan and the Rules of the Game.” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 172-81.

175: “One of the big problems about Marshall’s communicative behavior is that people couldn’t pigeon-hole him. Was he a philosopher, a sociologist, an historian, a pop commentator, a prophet, a critic, and, if so, of what? Marshall tried to help define his method with the comment that finally became a rote response for him: ‘I probe things,’ and although he told people quite directly that his style stemmed from the symbolist poets, that meant little to most. In a piece published in The New York Times in 1966, he was quoted as saying, perhaps in desperation: ‘People make a great mistake trying to read me as if I were saying something. I don’t want them to believe me. I just want them to think.’ How direct can a man be? And yet, one can choose from that statement what one wants. One can take the first part, which leads to: ‘Aha, he admits he isn’t saying anything, or one can emphasize the second part of the statement, which leads to: ‘That’s what great teachers do; they stimulate thought.'”


  • Gabriel, Michael. “CD-ROM, Videotext, and the New Electronic Media; or, Punching Holes in McLuhan’s Theory?” Technicalities 8 (May 1988): 5-8.

6: “Fortunately … television is only one of several electronic technologies. Other, newer media contain the potential to counteract television effects and to make many of Marshall McLuhan’s ideas seem dated and irrelevant. Videotext, for example, has been called the ‘quintessential medium of the 21 st century.’ In England, France, and many other countries, including to a lesser extent the United States, videotext services like CompuServe and The Source provide a variety of information services. What is interesting about videotext is how this medium presents news in a textual rather than pictorial fashion. The audience obtains information not by looking at film of car accidents and assorted disasters, but by reading text much as if the service were Newsweek or The New York Times. The service in this case, however, is not a print medium. In fact, videotext, an electronic medium, presents text on a monitor, which often is a television screen wired to receive videotext. Ironically, users of videotext, as with electronic mail, etc., read text off a monitor screen. They do not stare passively at pictorial images, but instead read word by word through sections of textual material. Return to the era of concentrated, individual study and contemplation and away from McLuhan’s tribal, television world of illusion and fantasy; away from the likes of Oliver North, who appears to the television audience to be a mythic hero, but whose words – when set down in cold type and read one-by-one for rational content – contrast grievously with the chapters of Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs. Videotext, if it fulfills the predictions made for it and becomes a major component of the telecommunications networks of the 21 st century, is capable of supplying the kind of detailed examination of issues so notably lacking in television. Videotext, an electronic medium, counteracts many of the effects of television set out by McLuhan in The Gutenberg Galaxy Understanding Media , and other works.”


  • Gould, Glenn. The Glenn Gould Reader . Ed. Tim Page. Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1984.


  • Kostalanetz, Richard. “Glenn Gould as a Radio Composer.” Massachussetts Review 29.3 (1988): 557-70.

567: “To acknowledge a marvelous term used by his [Gould’s] friend and fellow Torontonian Marshall McLuhan, Gould was creating radio not for the age of concentration. but for the age of omniattention, when radio is only one of several stimuli in the environment.” (567)


  • McLuhan, Eric. “The Genesis of Laws of Media .” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 201-04.

201-202: “The style of Understanding Media was abrasive and discontinuous and forged after many redraftings. It was designed to provoke the reader, to jar his sensibility into a form of awareness more open to the subject matter. (This is a traditional poetic technique.) Faced with the question of how to make it ‘scientific’ my father began a prolonged consultation, questioning everyone he encountered asking them ‘what constitutes a scientific statement?’ Finally he found the essential clue in Sir Karl Popper’s Objective Knowledge : something stated in such a manner that it can be disproven.”


  • Ong, Walter J.. “McLuhan as Teacher: The St. Louis Years.” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 34-40.

38: “For many years, large numbers of people believed and/or hoped that Marshall McLuhan was able to explain everything that was going on in the world. He, of course, never claimed this ability at all, but two factors I have discussed suggest why the impression might exist: his deep sense of the relevance of past to present, and his interest in knowledge-processes. When these were combined with his later concern with media, you had an exciting triad – especially if you remembered that, as I believe he has insisted, the future is a thing of the past.” (38)


  • Sanderson, George. “The Man in the Coach House.” The Antigonish Review74-5 (1988): 210-16.

211: “McLuhan’s comprehensiveness, his inclusiveness, is foreign to the academic scene, where success is usually achieved through specialization. Today’s scholar or scientist selects a tiny, neat, well-defined topic, something microscopic, overlooked, or even invisible. Once chosen, this molecule of mystery is grasped with the pincers supplied by the current methodology, analyzed, dissected and categorized. The results end up in a learned journal where they are safe from prying eyes. Today’s scholars have become micro-professors, lords of quarkdom puffing towards grants, tenure, promotion, prestige. McLuhan’s vision, rich with insights drawn from every field, from every age, and united in an integral tapestry, is too gigantic for those with Lilliputian ambitions.” (211)


  • Thompson, Fred. “Monday Night Sessions.” The Antigonish Review 74-5 (1988): 136-41.

141: “McLuhan encouraged the artist in everyone to come alive. It was not something which could be taught, but rather something which could be caught. In architectural terms, one can teach a student to write a program for a building although it is difficult to draw and build the building to fit that program. If this could be done to perfection, the process should be able to work in reverse, rather like a mystery story which is written backwards. There are few buildings of lasting interest that can be understood in this manner. Just take a building that fascinates you, look at it carefully, and try to play detective by writing the program which might originally have been given to the architect. No two programs will look alike. Only by studying the environmental effect can uncover the hidden program which makes the building relevant to us. Father Ong, speaking of the Methodist Ramus has said that, ‘Ideologically, the world of sound has yielded unwittingly but quite effectively to the world of space.’ The printed program can arrest space conceptually, while our perception allows it to slip away.”


  • Van Leer, David. “Letters of Marshall McLuhan [review].” The New Republic 199 (July 18-25 1988): 35-38.

37: “McLuhan stands at the beginning of a rebirth of theory that continues today in the post-structuralist schools of deconstruction, reception theory, and new historicism. And it was his interest in theory as much as his prophetic tone that earned McLuhan ridicule. Our generation, convinced of the value of theory and of the danger of discriminating between major and minor works, forgets that such opinions were once heretical. The critical world into which McLuhan entered insisted on the purely aesthetic character of literature. Hierarchical and ahistorical, the New Criticism distinguished literary values from political ones, positing a poetic language divorced from the concerns of society, and a high literary tradition distinct from the culture of the masses.”


  • Zingrone, Frank. “Letters of Marshall McLuhan [review].” University of Toronto Quarterly 58 (1988): 171-2.

171: “Once, in private conversation with McLuhan, I asked him about his writing: ‘I’m not particularly proud of my books,’ he said. He was not being humble, but serious – giving me a momentary insight into the dilemma of an aural virtuoso who, like Coleridge or Johnson, is reduced in important ways by print. With the bent of a Stern this left-handed magus wrote books that seemed like anti-books to some who misunderstood the attempts to retain in them the rich aural ambiguities of the living word.” (171)