McLuhan Studies : Issue 2

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Eric McLuhan

The Lost Introduction for Laws of Media: The New Science

Found on a piece of paper used as a bookmark in the volume (in Marshall McLuhanís personal library), Contexts of Canadian Criticism: A Collection of Critical essays. Ed. and with an Introduction by Eli Mandel. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago press, 1971.

--a volume in the Patterns of Literary Criticiam series, whose general editors were Ernest Sirluck, Richard J. Schoeck, and Marshall Mcluhan.

The sheet was the back of a letter concerning TV commercials from a friend in the ad-agency world. But the note on the back provided a jolt. Here was Marshall McLuhan's note I recall his making it about his choice for an epigram for the book that was to be published over a decade later under the title Laws of Media. At the time, we called it UMR, Understanding Media Revised. Somehow, the note and the idea became lost, buried in the ever-growing pile. Eventually, the book appeared with a different epigraph. But I am certain that, were he alive, he wouldn't have changed his mind. If anything, both epigraphs would have been used. Both are apt.

Here is the note (it comes from an Agatha Christie identified thus: "Dell 5888, page 135).. It is headed "UMR epigraph."

What is truth:

Said Mr. Parker Pyne,

"In my experience it is usually the thing that upsets the apple cart!"

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