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The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962)

de Marshall McLuhan

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The Gutenberg Galaxy catapulted Marshall McLuhan to fame as a media theorist and, in time, a new media prognosticator. Fifty years after its initial publication, this landmark text is more significant than ever before. Readers will be amazed by McLuhan's prescience, unmatched by anyone since, predicting as he did the dramatic technological innovations that have fundamentally changed how we communicate. The Gutenberg Galaxy foresaw the networked, compressed 'global village' that would emerge in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries -- despite having been written when black-and-white television was ubiquitous. This new edition of The Gutenberg Galaxy celebrates both the centennial of McLuhan's birth and the fifty-year anniversary of the book's publication. A new interior design updates The Gutenberg Galaxy for twenty-first-century readers, while honouring the innovative, avant-garde spirit of the original. This edition also includes new introductory essays that illuminate McLuhan's lasting effect on a variety of scholarly fields and popular culture. A must-read for those who inhabit today's global village, The Gutenberg Galaxy is an indispensable road map for our evolving communication landscape.… (mais)
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Obra polémica, revolucionaria e inquietante, plantea una reflexión de permanente actualidad. Si la invención de la imprenta provocó una revolución cultural que dio paso al individualismo moderno, ahora la cultura audiovisual está desplazando la letra impresa y devuelve al ser humano a su forma primitiva de vivir y pensar.
  Natt90 | Feb 16, 2023 |
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  Murtra | Sep 2, 2021 |
Marshall McLuhan liked to play with words. He liked to get his information from a printed page. One with uniform letters, uniformly shaped, precise in its presentation, and precise in its information, presenting a large or small part of a world that was perceived as rational. He believed that the way in which information was presented to us was crucial in how our minds would receive, retain and build on the information received. He believed as well, that information presented in an alphabetic format was different than that presented in a hieroglyphic or digital format. This is his presentation of that point of view. it has not been outdone. Read the book, and do not read it on an electronic, E-book format. That would defeat the purpose of his work. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 28, 2020 |
In some sense, this is a difficult book. Its main theme is interesting in itself, but as the title points out, it’s a Galaxy, or a myriad of connections that are simply to great to properly grasp it fully. If we take the analogy of the galaxy even further, it becomes obvious that even McLuhan’s analysis of the Gutenberg influence in Western culture is somewhat doomed to failure: we are simply too close to its effects, too deep inside it, to understand it clearly — just like trying to understand the Milky Way from inside is also a baffling task.

Being a difficult subject is a kind of excuse for the somewhat opaqueness of this work. McLuhan, in the essay that ends the book, states that “[t]he present volume has employed a mosaic pattern of perception and observation up till now” (MCLUHAN, 1962). This mosaic pattern is an attempt to cover the vast subject with meaningful quotes from different areas of study, using the quotes to provide examples of how typography changed humankind’s perception of things, altering the relation with understanding and the world at large — making of the whole of humanity a uniform entity. However, even though we can understand the approach McLuhan chose to cover this subject, this mosaic technique is also very confusing at times and can often mislead from the author’s original intention.

My feeling is that at some point even McLuhan himself was confused as to where he was trying to go with the text he had produced thus far. However, I’m not trying to diminish his work or to state that it could be done in some other, more competent way. As stated before, the subject matter, being a galaxy of consequences, it’s simply too overwhelming to be completely grasped.

But, in the end, this book can provide some light to those who want to understand history’s movements and changes in a different light, one that focus on the technological changes of information sharing, thus showing a different perspective that takes away history from the hands of some enlightened individuals and places it in the domain of the accidents that simple inventions with huge penetration have had in society at large. This book is also good to direct your attention the work of Harold Innis that provides much more insight into this theme of information technology, media shaping and history making. As McLuhan himself states, “Harold Innis was the first person to hit upon the process of change as implicit in the forms of media technology. The present book is a footnote of explanation to his work.” (MCLUHAN, 1962).

So is it worth reading? As always, it depends. If you’re studying media, media development, media implications, and so on, probably yes; if you’re just want to gloss over some of the ideas herein contained, probably not — you’ll be better served if you read a summary or a thorough review of this work. ( )
  adsicuidade | Sep 8, 2018 |
Il vasto viaggio di McLuhan nella galassia Gutenberg va ben oltre il famoso aforismo “il mezzo è il messaggio”; anzi questo l’autore non l’ha detto. L’autore canadese esplora una galassia vasta che concerne l’intero universo della comunicazione dell’uomo con un insolito approccio; è un libro senza capitoli e senza paragrafi e certamente non di facile lettura; McLuhan parte da delle glosse, spesso estratte da celebri passaggi di opere letterarie, per descrivere il rapporto tra l’uomo e la comunicazione, intesa come fenomeno sociale. L’esplorazione di McLuhan non ha limiti temporali, in quanto ripercorre la storia dell’uomo, né spaziali: la sua impostazione di ricerca è globale. Molte considerazioni e riflessioni del sociologo canadese danno spazio ad interessanti spazi di valutazione ed approfondimento. Come detto, non è un libro di semplice lettura, anzi ogni pagina richiede un serio impegno, anche perché il racconto si sviluppa sempre in maniera circolare, non consentendo di individuare un filo conduttore. Ma in realtà questo testo, fondamentale per chi, comunque, è interessato al settore, è da consultazione e in questa prospettiva proprio le glosse possono rappresentare un potente strumento di lettura. ( )
  grandeghi | Dec 19, 2016 |
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The Gutenberg Galaxy catapulted Marshall McLuhan to fame as a media theorist and, in time, a new media prognosticator. Fifty years after its initial publication, this landmark text is more significant than ever before. Readers will be amazed by McLuhan's prescience, unmatched by anyone since, predicting as he did the dramatic technological innovations that have fundamentally changed how we communicate. The Gutenberg Galaxy foresaw the networked, compressed 'global village' that would emerge in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries -- despite having been written when black-and-white television was ubiquitous. This new edition of The Gutenberg Galaxy celebrates both the centennial of McLuhan's birth and the fifty-year anniversary of the book's publication. A new interior design updates The Gutenberg Galaxy for twenty-first-century readers, while honouring the innovative, avant-garde spirit of the original. This edition also includes new introductory essays that illuminate McLuhan's lasting effect on a variety of scholarly fields and popular culture. A must-read for those who inhabit today's global village, The Gutenberg Galaxy is an indispensable road map for our evolving communication landscape.

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