The Beginnings of Gutenberg Galaxy 3 – Proof-reading in progress

On Christmas Day, 1960, McLuhan wrote to Corinne McLuhan’s family in Fort Worth as follows:

You would have heard from me sooner except that I’ve been so keyed up this book job [The Gutenberg Galaxy] that until Sunday comes I’m useless for anything else. However, the end is in sight. Proof-reading of typescript and chaptering is in progress. So I’ve written a 400-page book in less than one month. (…) it goes into the mail (Tuesday) (…) I’ve been reading and reading and reading for twenty years and now it’s time to put out some things of my own. It’s going to mean some extra cash eventually. (Letters 276)

Researchers sometimes repeat the claim (in wonder or blame) that GG was written “in less than one month”. In fact, of course, GG was written over a full decade and required, in 1960, as much assembly as writing. Even in 1960, it took up more of McLuhan’s time than he acknowledged to the Lewis’ in Fort Worth. A letter to John Wain in March of that year noted

Shall take the whole of this summer off to do the Gutenberg book…

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