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© The Estate of Marshall McLuhan

Herbert Marshall Mcluhan (1911-1980)

  • 1911: born in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 21
  • from 1932 studied at the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University
  • 1942 Doctor of English Literature (Cambridge University)
  • 1939 married Corinne Keller Lewis from Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1946–1979 lecturer at St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto
  • 1951 The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man
  • 1962 The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man
  • 1963–1979 director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto
  • 1964 Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
  • 1967 The Medium is the Massage (with illustrations by Quentin Fiore)
  • 1968 War and Peace in the Global Village: An Inventory of Some of the Current Spastic Situations That Could Be eliminated by More Feedforward (with illustrations by Quentin Fiore)
  • 1980: died in Toronto, Ontario, on December 31
  • posthumous publications:
  • 1988 Laws of Media: The New Science, together with his son Eric McLuhan
  • 1989 The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century, together with Bruce Powers



Marshall McLuhan, who began his career as a professor of English literature, became one of the leading media theorists of our time. He worked primarily at the University of Toronto, where, in 1963, he became head of the Centre for Culture and Technology, which still carries on his work today as the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. In his studies he dealt with the relationship between media technologies and their effect on the individual and society.

McLuhan’s key statements include his differentiation between "hot" and "cool" media. In the sixties, he became internationally famous through his aphorisms such as "the medium is the message" or the "global village". His most important works include The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964), which have been translated into over 20 languages. All his important works are also available in German.

In his day, McLuhan’s theses on the role of the modern media were met with both enthusiasm and criticism. In today’s digital age, many of his theories are being reassessed with the result that they can be considered of particular relevance nowadays.

McLuhan received much public exposure too. He was featured on the front covers of the print media, which also published long interviews with him. On television he was a sought-after interview partner and in 1967 he was given his own program, This is Marshall McLuhan. Later he had a part in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. His TV appearances and recorded lectures are presented exclusively in the Marshall McLuhan Salon, which was named after him.