The McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology is please to announce an important launch of two new books written by Eric McLuhan, son and intellectual partner of Marshall McLuhan. Sensus Communis and Cynic Satire are released November 6, 2015 at 7 pm at the McLuhan Centre, 39A Queens Park Crescent in Toronto (parking available off 121 St. Joseph st.).
Author, journalist and McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand, and Francesco Guardiani, professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Italian Studies, will interact with the author Eric McLuhan in the very coach house where Marshall McLuhan and his son held court.
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The Sensus Communis, Synesthesia, and the Soul: An Odyssey
BPS Books, Toronto, 2015
In this essay of extraordinary scope and depth, Eric McLuhan explores faith as a form of knowing. He does so against the backdrop of preliterate man’s concrete, bodily submersion in the putting on of poetry and drama (the practice of mimesis) and post-literate man’s bodiless submersion in electronic communication, in which sender and receiver are everywhere and nowhere at once. In traversing the Aristotelian and Medieval concept of sensus communis, he examines synesthesia as, in effect, its operating system and charts the modern and contemporary mandate to embrace the discarnate. He washes up on the shore of religion as he uncovers a trinity of knowledge, that is, three kinds of sensus communis – the five physical senses, the four intellectual senses of Scripture (historical, allegorical, tropological, and anagogical), and the three theological senses (faith, hope, and charity)-each of the three complete in itself yet interacting with one another. A fascinating odyssey that will dazzle the senses.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne UK, 2015
A Menippean – Cynic – satire is a device for producing a specific kind of effect on the reader. Menippean satire is an active form, not a passive one: any work that produces the effect of a Menippean satire is a Menippean satire. It is the embodiment of a Cynic – of a Diogenes or a Menippus or a Lucian or a Rabelais. For centuries, it has frustrated the best efforts of critics to define it. Descriptive criteria (such as “a mixture of verse and prose”) invariably fail because the form is determinedly fluid and polymorphous, and playful: it shifts its mode of attack with every change in culture or perception. Menippists plagiarize with abandon, from anyone and any period and culture. McLuhan has found a new and potent method of coming to grips with the satires by examining their interaction with the audience: the satire does what a Cynic would, were he or she physically present. This approach accounts for every shift in technique, from the most ancient (Homer composed one, the Margites) to tomorrow afternoon, and also opens the discussion of Menippism in any and all media other than literature – TV, digital, film, radio, et al. The book ends with a litmus test for detecting Menippean satires. It is also lavishly illustrated with title pages of some of the most notorious examples in the tradition, and is ideal as a textbook for undergraduates.
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Eric McLuhan received his B. Sc. in Communication from Wisconsin State University in 1972. He got the M. A. and Ph. D. in English Literature from the University of Dallas in 1980 and 1982. An internationally-known lecturer on communication and media, he has over forty years’ teaching experience in subjects ranging from highspeed reading techniques to English literature, media, and communication theory, and has taught at many colleges and universities in both the United States and Canada.
He has published articles in magazines and professional journals since 1964 on media, perception, and literature, and assisted Marshall McLuhan with the research and writing of The Medium is the Massage, War and Peace in the Global Village, Culture is Our Business, From Cliché to Archetype, and Take Today: The Executive as Drop-Out. He is co-author: with Marshall McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon, of City as Classroom (Irwin, 1977); with Marshall McLuhan, of Laws of Media: The New Science (University of Toronto Press, 1988); and with Wayne Constantineau, of The Human Equation (Toronto: BPS Books, 2010).
Eric McLuhan is the author of The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake (University of Toronto Press, 1997); Electric Language: Understanding the Present (Stoddart, 1998); and Theories of Communication (New York: Peter Lang, 2010). He is the co-editor of: Essential McLuhan (Stoddart, 1995), and Who Was Marshall McLuhan? (1994; Stoddart, 1995), and the editor of: The Medium and the Light (Stoddart, 1999); the academic journal, McLuhan Studies; and editor, for Gingko Press, of: Understanding Media, Critical Edition (2003); McLuhan Unbound (2004); and The Book of Probes (2004), and was consulting editor for Voyager/Southam’s “McLuhan Project,” which produced Understanding McLuhan (1997), a CD on Marshall McLuhan and his work.