McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography

Overview

The first book to propose that Marshall McLuhan be read as a spatial theorist, McLuhan in Space argues that space is the single most consistent concept in McLuhan's vast and eclectic body of work. Richard Cavell demonstrates how McLuhan extended insights derived from advances in physics and artistic experimentation into a theory of acoustic space, which he then used to challenge the assumptions of visual space that had been produced through 500 years of print culture.

The notion...

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Overview

The first book to propose that Marshall McLuhan be read as a spatial theorist, McLuhan in Space argues that space is the single most consistent concept in McLuhan's vast and eclectic body of work. Richard Cavell demonstrates how McLuhan extended insights derived from advances in physics and artistic experimentation into a theory of acoustic space, which he then used to challenge the assumptions of visual space that had been produced through 500 years of print culture.

The notion of acoustic space provided McLuhan with a heuristic probe of prodigious range, allowing him to examine critically the many social and cultural forms of contemporary media production. It also enabled him to cross over intellectually from the purely theoretical realm into that of artistic production, where his interests in radical notions of spatial production were shared by a range of avant garde artists from bp Nichol to Glenn Gould, from John Cage to the Fluxus artists - an artistic milieu in which McLuhan increasingly came to situate his work. Cavell's book is the first to examine McLuhan's work in light of this artistic backdrop, and the first to examine his contribution to Canadian studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Christoph Irmscher

'Brilliant ... Cavell's lucid exposition of McLuhan's work and its links with Canadian culture is without a doubt the best treatment of the subject to date.'

Sue Bowness

'Cavell has done us a particular favour - not only does the book walk us exhaustively through the ways in which McLuhan's theories relate to space, but it also acts as a refresher on the oeuvre itself. Cavell considers the ways in which McLuhan influenced and was influenced by fellow scholars, artistic contemporaries and students (Harold Innis, Northrop Frye, Walter Ong) and the connections between McLuhan's theories and artistic works being produced by avant-garde artists such as bpNichol and Glenn Gould.'

Booknews
Space, says Cavell (English and Canadian studies, U. of British Columbia), constitutes the single most consistent conceptual category in the wide-ranging work of Canadian thinker Marshal McLuhan (1911- 80). He shows how the various dimensions of his thought are articulated through notions of spatial biases, sensations, and modes of production; and how space connects him to artists and theorists. He subsumes the traditional categories used to study him within an account of the development and consistency of his notion of spatial production. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802086587
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 8/25/2003
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.72 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Cavell is a professor in the Department of English and the founding director of the International Canadian Studies Centre at the University of British Columbia.
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Table of Contents

Sigla
Preface: 'Space' in McLuhan
Pt. 1 Spaced
1 A Short History of Space 3
2 Mechanization and Its Discontents 31
3 The Physics of Flattand 49
4 Prosthetic Aesthetics 69
Interface: The Intellectual as Vates 91
Pt. 2 Scaped
5 Artiste de livres 101
6 Visible Speech 136
7 Art without Walls 170
8 Borderlines 197
Postface: McLuhan in Space 223
Notes 229
Details of Sigla 301
Index 303
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