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The Making of Typographic Man is a book by Marshall McLuhanin which the author analyzes the effects of mass mediaespecially the printing presson European culture and human consciousness. It popularized the term global village[1] which refers to the idea that mass communication allows a village-like mindset to apply to the entire world; and Gutenberg Galaxy[2] which we may regard today to refer to the accumulated body of recorded works of human art and knowledge, especially books.

McLuhan studies the emergence of what he calls Gutenberg Man, the subject produced by the change of consciousness wrought by the advent of the printed book. Apropos of his axiom, ” The medium is the message ,” McLuhan argues that technologies are not simply inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented. The invention of movable type was the decisive moment in the change from a culture in which all the senses partook of a common interplay to a tyranny of the visual.

He also argued that the development of the printing press led to the creation of nationalismdualismdomination of rationalismautomatisation of scientific research, uniformation and standardisation of culture and alienation of individuals. Movable type, with its ability to reproduce texts accurately and swiftly, extended the drive toward homogeneity and repeatability already in evidence in the emergence of perspectival art and the exigencies of the single “point of view”.

The book is unusual in its design.

McLuhan described it as one which “develops a mosaic or field approach to its problems”. The main body of gutenerg book, part 2, “The Gutenberg Galaxy”, consists of short “chapters”, many of which are just three, two, or even one page s in length.

Such a large collection of small chapters does fit the picture of a mosaic. Apparently, McLuhan also had some ideas about how to browse a book. Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxyrecommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. Certainly the McLuhan test can be applied to the Gutenberg Galaxy itself. Doing so will reveal a further insight into the purpose of his own book.

For the break between the time periods in each case the occurrence of a new medium is responsible, the hand-writing terminates the oral phase, the printing and the electricity revolutionizes afterwards culture and society. Given the clue of “hand-writing” that terminates the “oral phase” one expects “printing” to terminate the manuscript phase and the “electrifying” to bring an end to the Gutenberg era.

The strangeness of the use vie “electrifying” is entirely appropriate halaxis the McLuhan context of tutenberg The Internet did not exist then. McLuhan himself suggests that the last section of his book might play gwlaxis major role of being the first section:.

The last section of the book, glaxis Galaxy Reconfigured,” deals with the clash of electric and mechanical, or print, technologies, and the reader may find it the best prologue. The oral tradition is not dead. In schools or at home or in the street, where children are taught to learn by heart, to memorize, nursery rhymes or poems or songs, then they can be said to participate in the oral tradition. The same is often true of the children belonging to religious groups who are taught gutehberg learn to say their prayers.


In other words, childhood is one of the ages of man in Shakespeare’s sense and is essentially an oral tribal culture. The transition from this oral culture takes place when the child is taught to read and write.

Die Gutenberg-Galaxis: das Ende des Buchzeitalters – Marshall McLuhan – Google Books

Then the child enters the world of the manuscript culture. McLuhan identifies James Joyce ‘s Finnegans Wake as a key that unlocks something of the nature of the oral culture. Of particular importance to the Oral Culture is the Art of memory. In commenting gaaxis the then Soviet Union[17] McLuhan puts “the advertising and PR community” on a par with them in so far that both “are concerned about access to the media and about results.

Such is the character of a village, or since electric media, such is also the character of global village. The culture ggalaxis the manuscript literally hand-writing is often referred to by McLuhan as scribal culture. Medieval illumination, gloss, and sculpture alike were aspects of the art talaxis memory, central to scribal culture.

Associated with this epoch is the Art of memory in Latin Ars Memoriae. Joyce’s Finnegans Wake like Shakespeare’s King Lear is one of the texts which McLuhan frequently uses throughout the book in order to weave together the various strands of his argument. Throughout Finnegans Wake Joyce specifies the Tower of Babel as the tower of Sleep, that is, the did of the witless assumption, or what Bacon calls the reign of the Idols.

His episodic and often rambling history takes the reader from pre-alphabetic tribal humankind to the electronic age.

Die Gutenberg-Galaxis : Die Entstehung des typographischen Menschen

According to McLuhan, the invention of movable type greatly accelerated, intensified, and ultimately enabled cultural and cognitive changes that had already been taking place since the invention and implementation of the alphabet, by which McLuhan means phonemic orthography. Quoting with approval an observation on the nature of the printed word from Prints and Visual Communication by William IvinsMcLuhan remarks:. In this passage [Ivins] not only notes the ingraining of lineal, sequential habits, but, even more important, points out the visual homogenizing of experience of print culture, and the relegation of auditory and other sensuous complexity to the background.

Print exists by virtue of the static separation of functions and fosters a mentality that gradually resists any but a separative and compartmentalizing or specialist outlook. The main concept of McLuhan’s argument later elaborated upon in The Medium is the Massage is that new technologies like alphabets, printing presses, and even speech itself exert a gravitational effect on cognition, which in turn affects social organization: According to McLuhan, the advent of print technology contributed to and made possible most of the salient trends in the Modern period in the Western world: For McLuhan, these trends all reverberate with print technology’s principle of “segmentation of actions and functions and principle of visual quantification.

In the early s, McLuhan wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon be brought to an end by what he called “electronic interdependence”: In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a “tribal base.

The term is sometimes described as having negative connotations in The Gutenberg Galaxybut McLuhan himself was interested in exploring effects, not making value judgments:. Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computeran electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside.

So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence.


Key to McLuhan’s argument is the idea that technology has no per se moral bent—it is a tool that profoundly shapes an individual’s and, by extension, a society’s self-conception and realization:. Is it not obvious that there are always enough moral problems without also taking a moral stand on technological grounds? Print raises the visual features of alphabet to highest intensity of definition.

Thus print carries the individuating power of the phonetic alphabet gutenberrg further than manuscript culture could ever do. Print is guenberg technology of individualism. If men decided to modify this visual technology by an electric technology, individualism would also be modified.

To raise a moral complaint about this is like cussing a buzz-saw for lopping gutenberb fingers. It is a problem, but not a moral problem; and it would be nice to clear away some of the moral fogs that surround our technologies. It would be good for morality. The moral valence of technology’s effects on cognition is, for McLuhan, a matter of perspective. For instance, McLuhan contrasts the considerable alarm and revulsion that the growing quantity of books aroused in the latter seventeenth century with the modern gutenbeerg for the “end of the book.

Though the World Wide Web was invented thirty years after The Gutenberg Galaxy was published, McLuhan may have coined and certainly popularized gutenbefg usage of the term ” surfing ” to refer gaoaxis rapid, irregular and multidirectional movement through a heterogeneous body of documents or knowledge, e.

Ong wrote a highly favorable review of this new book in America. It seems to me a book that somebody should have written a century ago. I wish somebody else had written it. The chairman of the selection committee was McLuhan’s colleague at the University of Toronto and gallaxis intellectual sparring partner, Northrop Frye.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Leggewie, Claus: Herbert Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxis

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This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. Please help improve the article by presenting facts as a neutrally-worded summary with appropriate citations. Gutenbreg transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote. According to McLuhan’s son Eric McLuhanhis father, a Wake scholar and a close friend of Lewis, likely gutennberg the concept with Lewis during their association, but there is no evidence that he got the idea or the phrasing from either; McLuhan is generally credited gaalaxis having coined the term.

McLuhan Studies issue 2. A Guide to the Information Millennium. Figure and ground ” Global village ” Media ecology ” The medium is the message ” Gutebberg Tetrad of media effects.

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This page was last edited on 7 Aprilat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Cover of the first edition. University of Toronto Press.