Why Is Marshall McLuhan Important? Tom Wolfe on Media, Advertising, Technology (1999)

Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian philosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. His work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries. He was educated at the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University and began his teaching career as a Professor of English at several universities in the U.S. and Canada, before moving to the University of Toronto where he would remain for the rest of his life.

McLuhan is known for coining the expressions the medium is the message and the global village, and for predicting the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. Although he was a fixture in media discourse in the late 1960s, his influence began to wane in the early 1970s. In the years after his death, he continued to be a controversial figure in academic circles. With the arrival of the internet, however, interest in his work and perspective has renewed.

During his years at Saint Louis University (1937–1944), McLuhan worked concurrently on two projects: his doctoral dissertation and the manuscript that was eventually published in 1951 as the book The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man, which …

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