McLuhan, Marshall (1911–1980) By Hammond, Adam
Born Herbert Marshall McLuhan in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Marshall McLuhan was a literary critic, communications theorist, public intellectual, and the father of modern media studies. McLuhan rose to international fame as a ‘media guru’ in the 1960s when works like The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), Understanding Media (1964), and The Medium is the Massage (1967) became best sellers. His dictum, ‘the medium is the message’ — which packages McLuhan’s notion that humans and human society are more profoundly affected by the formal properties of the media through which they communicate than by the specific content transmitted — became widely known, if not widely understood, during this period. Though his public and academic influence waned in the last decade of his life, interest in McLuhan’s ideas was revived with the expansion and popularization of the internet. Among the many thinkers he has influenced are Neil Postman, Jean Beaudrillard, and Friedrich Kittler.