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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 18. The Printed Word: Books and Libraries


← 158 | 159 →

· 18 ·


Content and extension: The content of the printed word is the written word and the written word is extended by the printing press, ink, and paper.

Cascade: The cascade is from the thoughts of the author to the spoken word to the written word to the printed word, and hence the printed word is an extension of human thought.

LOM: The printed word enhances the written word, obsolesces the handwritten manuscript, retrieves written works of the past and the author as individual, and reverses into digital electronic text.


Content and extension: The content of the book is both the written and printed word, which is extended by the use of a narrative.

Cascade: The cascade is from the thoughts of the author to the spoken word to the written word to the printed word to the book, and hence the book is also an extension of a human thought. ← 159 | 160 →

LOM: the printed book enhances availability, uniformity, repetition, nationalism, obsolesces the manuscript book, spoken word, retrieves caesuras by uniform pricing, and reverses into a reading public and extreme individualism (McLuhan & Logan, 2016, Chapter 4). LOM: the printing press enhances linearity—uniform meanings and printing, obsolesces handwritten texts, scribes, individual meaning, retrieves gestalt of one page from many letters, and flips into reputation and fame and mass production (McLuhan & Logan,...

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