McLuhan’s course books

At the back of Who Was Marshall McLuhan there is a list of books he used in his seminar. Students were told to read 3 of them and to report back what they had learned.  They were not to report what was in the books, but the effect on them from the books.

Here is the list from 1966-67 “with additions” presumably from later seminars (marked below with an asterisk).  The printed list has no information other than author and title; publishing information has been added here.

Noteworthy for their absence are any titles from T.S. Eliot, Etienne Gilson, James Joyce, I.A. Richards, A.N. Whitehead and Bernard Muller-Thym, all of whom influenced McLuhan himself significantly. It may be that many of these were felt more fitting to McLuhan’s English courses.

Ruth Nanda Anshen, ed, Language: An Enquiry into Its Meaning and Function, 19571
Silvio A BediniThe scent of time: a study of the use of fire and incense for time measurement in Oriental countries, 1963
Claude BernardAn introduction to the study of experimental medicine, translation 1949, orig. 1865
Norman O. Brown, Life against Death, 19592
Elias CanettiCrowds and Power, translation 1962, orig. 1960
Milic CapekThe Philosophical Impact Of Contemporary Physics, 1961
H.J. Chaytor, From Script To Print, 1945
Colin Cherry, On Human Communication, 1957
C.W. Churchman and P. RatooshMeasurement: Definitions and Theories, 1959
H.F. Sloan and H.S. ClarkClassrooms In The Factories, 1958
Tobias Dantzig, Number: The Language of Science, 1930
Karl W. Deutsch, The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control, 1966
Alexander Dorner
, The Way Beyond Art, 1958
Constantinos Doxiadis, Architecture in Transition, 1963
Peter F. Drucker, The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines to Our Changing Society, 1966
Hugh D. Duncan, Language and Literature in Society, 1953
J. T. Dunlop , ed, Automation and Technological Change, 19623
Anton EhrenzweigPsychoanalysis of Artistic Vision and Hearing: an Introduction to a Theory of Unconscious Perception, 1953
Jacques EllulThe Technological Society, 1964
Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, 1962
Pedro Entralgo, Mind and Body, Psychosomatic Pathology: A short history of the evolution of medical thought, 1955
Pedro EntralgoThe Therapy of the Word in Classical Antiquity, 1970*
Jack Fincher, Human intelligence, 1976*
Michel FoucaultMadness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, translation 1964, orig 1960
Sigmund FreudThe Interpretation of Dreams, 1900
Erich Fromm, The Forgotten Language, 1951
R. Buckminster FullerUtopia or Oblivion, 1963
R. Buckminster Fuller, Ideas and Integrities, 1963
R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth, 1968*
Sigfried GiedionSpaceTime and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition, 1941
Sigfried GiedionMechanization Takes Command, 1948
Sigfried Giedion
The Beginnings of Architecture, 1964
E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, 1960
E. T. HallThe Silent Language, 1959
E. T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension, 1966
E. A. Havelock, Preface to Plato, 1963
E. A. Havelock, Prologue to Greek Literacy, 1971
E. A. Havelock, Origins of Western Literacy, 1976
W. HeisenbergThe Physicist’s Conception of Nature, translation 1958, orig, 1955
J. HuizingaHomo Ludens, translation 1949, orig. 1938
Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication, 1951
W. IvinsArt and Geometry: A Study in Spatial Intuitions, 1946
Julian JaynesThe Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, 1976*
T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962
Frank Leavis, New Bearings in English Poetry, 1932
Claude Lévi-StraussStructural Anthropology, translation 1963, orig. 1958
Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man, 1927
Jacques Lusseyran, And There was Light, translation 1963, orig. 1953
George Mandler and William Kessen, The Language Of Psychology, 1959
Bruce Mazlish, ed, The Railroad and the Space Program: An Exploration in Historical Analogy, 19654
Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization, 1934
J.R. Pierce, Symbols, Signals and Noise, 1961
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, 1944
Ezra PoundThe ABC of Reading, 1934
Edgar Rubin, Visual Figures, 19155
Donald A. Schon, The Displacement of Concepts, 1963
Hans Selye, The Stress of Life, 1956
A.T.W. Simeons, Man’s Presumptuous Brain: An Evolutionary Interpretation of Psychosomatic Disease, 1961
Erwin StraussThe Primary World of Senses: a vindication of sensory experience, 1963
A.P. Usher, A History of Mechanical Inventions, 1929
J.Z. Young, Doubt and Certainty in Science: A Biologist’s Reflections on the Brain, 1951
Lynn White, jr, Medieval Technology and Social Change, 1962

  1. Essays included in the volume: Part 1 — The Principle. Language as idea / Ruth Nanda Anshen; The nature of language / Kurt Goldstein; The origin of language / N.H. Tur-Sinai; Aum: the word of words / Swami Nikhilananda; Language and the theory of sign / Jacques Maritain; Symbols and history / George Boas; The word of God / Paul Tillich; The language of silence / Richard P. Blackmur. Part 2 — The Application. The cardinal dichotomy in language / Roman Jakobson; Squares and oblongs / W.H. Auden; Mysticism and its language / Charles W. Morris; Symbolic language of dreams / Erich Fromm; Language of poetry / Leo Spitzer; Language of jurisprudence / Huntington Cairns; Language of politics / Harold D. Lasswell; Language of the theater / Francis Fergusson; Art as symbolic speech / Margaret Naumburg; A philosophy of translation / Jean P. de Menasce; Language as communication / Ruth Nanda Anshen.
  2. Brown was doing his PhD in classics in Madison when McLuhan was a teaching assistant there in English in 1935-1936.  It is not known if they met.
  3.  Essays included in the volume: Introduction — Problems and potentials / John T. Dunlop; The impact of technology: the historic debate / Robert L. Heilbroner; Educational and social consequences / Lee A. DuBridge; Psychological and organizational impacts / Floyd C. Mann; Managerial decisions / Melvin Anshen; Collective bargaining / George W. Taylor; Some economic considerations / W. Allen Wallis; Employment / Ewan Clague and Leon Greenberg; International aspects / Richard N. Cooper; The technology behind productivity / Francis Bello; Perspective / Henry M. Wriston.
  4. Essays included in the volume: Historical analogy: the railroad and the space program and their impact on society / Bruce Mazlish; A technological frontier: the railway / Thomas Parke Hughes; Railroads as an analogy to the space effort: some economic aspects / Robert William Fogel; The economic impact of the railroad innovation / Paul H. Cootner; The railroads: innovators in modern business administration / Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and Stephen Salsbury; The social impact of the railroad / Thomas C. Cochran; Political impact: a case study of a railroad monopoly in Mississippi / Robert L. Brandon; The impact of the railroad on the American imagination, as a possible comparison for the space impact / Leo Marx.
  5. There does not seem to be an English translation of Rubin’s 1915 thesis in Danish, Synsoplevede Figurer. It may be that McLuhan had some kind of handout for his students. The 1949 publication of Rubin’s Experimenta psychologica: collected scientific papers in German, English & French included two papers in English: ‘Taste’ and ‘Some Elementary Time Experiences’.