McLuhan, Herbert Marshall

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English/Communication Theory

Department of English, St Michael's College (1947-1980)

Director, Centre for Culture and Technology (1963-1980)


Governor General's Award for non fiction (The Gutenberg Galaxy) 1962

LLD University of Toronto (Special Sesquicentennial Convocation 1977)

McLuhan was the first layman to be hired by St. Michael's College in a teaching position. In 1947 he was appointed associate professor. In 1951, he published The Mechanical Bride which established McLuhan as one of the foremost critics of Mass Communication. In 1953, with the help of colleagues from other departments, McLuhan was able to obtain a $750,000 Ford Foundation grant which they used to support a seminar in communication and a journal devoted to research and scholarship in the communications field. Both projects ran for five years and the journal entitled Explorations was edited by McLuhan for the entirety of its publication. In 1962, he published The Gutenberg Galaxy: the Making of Typographic Man. This along with the international recognition of Explorations, and his established reputation thanks to The Mechanical Bride resulted in many professorship offers in both America and Canada with equally impressive salaries. In order to keep such a highly sought after professor, U of T established a Centre for Culture and Technology in 1963 and made McLuhan the director. He continued as a member of the Combined English Department.


Harris, Robin S. English Studies at Toronto: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.

Fitzgerald, Judith. Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy. Lantzville, BC: XYZ Publishing, 2001

Gordon, W. Terrence. Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding. Toronto: Stoddart, 1997

Marchand, Philip. Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger. Toronto: Vintage, 1998

Powe, B.W. Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye. Apocalypse and Alchemy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.

Stamps, Judith. Unthinking modernity: Innis, McLuhan, and the Frankfurt School. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995