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August 19 2018


60 Years Later, The Medium is the Message. (with an important note on this blog + other means of sharing my journey)

Dear reader,

Two things.


In conversation with my friend Carol Sill last night, I realized that a significant anniversary had passed by without taking note.

Carol and I were talking (among other things) about the idea of having a McLuhan / McLuhan Institute event in her hometown, Vancouver. I had been thinking about Howard Gossage and the McLuhan Festival in San Francisco in 1965… thinking about what an event in Vancouver could look like I searched my capricious memory for a McLuhan/Vancouver connection and remembered a book I came across while cataloging Marshall’s library – and that I did a blog post about it:

m:m incsripto blog 1958

So the statement for which Marshall McLuhan is (arguably?) most known and most misunderstood is 60 years old this year.

The medium is the message.


Attentive readers of inscriptorium will know that I am on the second part of my inventory adventure.

The first part was the 18 months (or so) that I spent inventorying (and documenting and getting to know) the annotated ‘working’ library of my grandfather Marshall McLuhan. I had a grant to help with that, and I took a lot of photos with my Canon Powershot, and I spent a lot of time flipping through the books and getting to know them, and getting to know a grandfather who died when I was two years old – but I learned a lot about him through those books.

I shared that journey with the world here on this blog, and I created a twitter account where I shared some of the actual annotations. It seemed like the right thing to do.

This time around, it’s my father Eric McLuhan’s books I am inventorying, and the situation is very different. I don’t have the luxury of time or other resources I did the first time around. This means that I don’t have the time to spend on each book that I did before, and I don’t have the time to take a lot of photos and make a lot of notes and write up a lot of blogs. Maybe I will have time for that down the road, maybe not.

Also, the media landscape has changed. As have people, obviously, and their habits (see above note on m/m). So there are other ways of reaching people, and other ways of telling stories. Like on Instagram.


If I’m getting on it it’s likely obsolete, but yeah, I’m on Instagram as @mcinstatute (get it?). There, you get a pictorial representation of this blog. More pictures, fewer words.

Given the situation, it makes more sense for me to share my journey in shorter form, via Instagram, than it does to do it here. I regret that it is so. But it is also fun to experiment with other ways of telling my stories.

And – if you’re interested in the McLuhan Institute, while I am still working on the website (still ‘coming soon’… ugh.) I try to keep people updated via the McLuhan Institute Facebook Page.

As always, thanks for reading.



(an unexpected … twist?)

July 27 2018


Return to Howth Castle

Johnny Appleread
Colophon of Simon and Schuster.

Dear Reader,

The inventory of the library of Eric McLuhan has begun.

It’s been just two months since he died while we were in Bogotá.

Readers of this blog will know that I began it to document my journey inventorying Marshall McLuhan’s library. Now, as I set to work making an inventory of my father’s library, I will once again try to document some of that journey here.

It will be a bit different this time around. Marshall and Eric’s libraries are related but different. I also don’t have quite the freedom as I did the first time around – I’ll be doing this in what spare evenings I can devote, and I have to move more quickly. I had the luxury of a grant to lean on, now I don’t.

There is also an emotional element which will be tricky to navigate.

Circumstances being what they are, I begin.

[I actually have been spending time out there the last several weeks, organizing, cleaning, and getting ready to start the actual inventory.]


IMG_9323The first handful of books are mostly of Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock. The first book on the first shelf is ‘Last Leaves.’

‘Last Leaves’ appears to have been bought by my father either just before or just after I was born – I am not positive whether the writing indicated ‘Mar’ or ‘Nov’.

Like his father, Eric passed by his first given name in favour of his second. Marshall’s first name was Herbert, and Eric’s first name was Thomas.

Here is what the inventory looks like:

Eric's Library XL

It’s nothing fancy, but it should do the job. This one differs a little from the one I did for Marshall in that I am working off shelves, not from boxes – as the bulk of Marshall’s books were stored in boxes.

I had drawn up a map of the Scriptorium’s shelves years ago, and am using that as my guide. I am starting with the closest shelf to the door, and will work my way through the office, shelf by shelf.

I will also work systematically so that I can keep everything in order and in relation as dad organized it carefully (for the most part). This will also come in handy as the library is not expected to remain in that building – which is why I am beginning my inventory, and why I have time constraints.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I expect it will be full of interesting tidbits and unexpected turns.


Andrew McLuhan,

June 28 2018


Inscriptorium 2.0 – The Working Library of Eric McLuhan


The view from my desk, June 2018

Dear reader,

I am back in the Scriptorium – Eric McLuhan’s library and office in rural Prince Edward County.

Dad died last month, while we were on a trip together in Bogotá, Colombia. On May 17th, he delivered what I think was one of the most important speeches of his career – “Media Ecology in the 21st Century.” [Link to the video coming]

That night, I told him how well he did, how bold he was, how proud I was of him.

He died the following day.

Inscriptorium began as a way for me to document and share some of the remarkable things I came across when I inventoried the library of Marshall McLuhan, prior to its relocation to the Fisher rare book library in Toronto.

I am resuming this blog, because now I will begin to do the same thing for my father Eric’s library. I had considered starting a different blog, but I think it makes sense to pick up this one, as the two libraries have much in common – Eric’s library is an extension of Marshall’s, as Eric’s work followed his fathers though it also explored various side roads.

It will be very interesting, if only to me, to see where this leads. In the time I spent looking at Marshall’s library, I came to know him in an intimate way – he died when I was too young to retain memories. Marshall’s books – with their annotations, notes, whimsical additions, really contained some of his spirit. I suppose they still do.

My desire to be involved with McLuhan work really cemented during the time I spent with Marshall’s books and the ephemera they contained.

I am beginning to catalog and really delve into dad’s library, and all it contains, but I am stating from a more familiar place than I did with Marshall’s. I at least am somewhat familiar with dad’s library, as I have been spending time and poking around in it for many years, whereas with Marshall’s library, I was mostly opening boxes whose contents I had never seen. Even so, I expect surprises, and have already found some.

I will share as much as I can, and look forward to it as I know some of you will also.

I don’t have quite the time to spend on dad’s books as I was able to spend on Marshall’s.

My life has changed a lot in the near-decade since I started on Marshall’s library. I have a wife (Ronika, my love), two young boys (Ezra, 4, and Virgil, 2 – darlings), a modest upholstery business, and the McLuhan Institute [website coming] which I dreamed of, began working on last summer, and am making progress toward. If all goes according to my hopes and plans, the contents of the Scriptorium – Eric McLuhan’s library, papers, archives, and everything all things McLuhan which are not somewhere else – will form the backbone of the McLuhan Institute’s archives and museum. You will be able to come visit, see for yourself.

As with Marshall’s library when I started my inventory of it, where Eric McLuhan’s library will go has not been decided. It is not solely up to me. I have some time to build the Institute, and make my case.

In the meantime, the inventory begins.


Dad and I at El Nogal, Bogotá, Colombia, following his great speech ‘Media Ecology in the 21st Century.’ 5/17/2018

-Eric McLuhan, conclusion to ‘Media Ecology in the 21st Century.’

Thank you for being here.

Andrew McLuhan

November 19 2015

A lone a last a loved a long the

April 24 2015

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McLuhan | El medio es el mensaje | Teoría comunicativa

April 23 2015

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Twerkin' to Old School - illpropaganda

April 22 2015

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April 21 2015

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Лекция: Маршалл Маклюэн. Философ и богослов медиа.
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Videodrome - David Cronenberg - Chronique #0
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Marshall McLuhan Lecture 2015: Money is the Message – Part Two
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Marshall McLuhan Lecture 2015: Money is the Message – Part Four

April 17 2015

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