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320 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 the Canadian state=s liberal principles were overwhelmed by both the >emerging global power structure= and by a trust of the Soviets that Igor Gouzenko=s revelations soon undermined, equally unrealistic was the Ukrainian-Canadian assumption that the Western powers might somehow press for Ukraine=s self-determination through the United Nations. But in concentrating on the state=s naïveté, Kordan largely overlooks the equally credulous Ukrainian Canadian Committee. Even so, the book is a competent and valuable piece of work. It places the familiar material within an interesting theoretical framework and allows the principal actors ample scope to explain themselves. A scholarly quirk that defies explanation, however, is the frequent repetition in the footnotes of official titles already noted in the text. Such deference to authority is rare in today=s scholarly world. (MANOLY R. LUPUL) Richard Cavell. McLuhan in Space: A Cultural Geography University of Toronto Press. xix, 322. $65.00 Describing Marshall McLuhan=s collaboration with Wilfred Watson, and in particular the extent to which their From Cliche to Archetype included McLuhan=s fullest response to Northrop Frye, Richard Cavell quotes McLuhan in The Global Village: >There is absolutely no provision in Frye=s statement for ground of any kind: the archetype is itself a figure minus a ground, floating around devoid of its original context.= For those familiar with the portrait of Frye that hangs in the Pratt Library at Victoria College B seated in space, resting during his assumption into heaven, or simply resting B McLuhan=s comment does indeed provide a ground. But his comment leaves the reader of McLuhan in Space puzzled by the title Cavell has chosen for this book. His McLuhan does not float, groundless, even if Iain Baxter=s striking dust-jacket photograph implies as much. >Culture,= the author concludes, >was a material phenomenon for McLuhan, not an abstract one, a position that set him off most sharply from Frye.= Any representation of McLuhan in space would necessarily show, like medieval paintings of the ascension, traces of his footprints left upon the earth. Cavell=s thoughtful consideration of the critical positions of Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye is only one facet of his exploration of >the Canadian context of McLuhan=s thought.= >Contexts= more accurately describes his account of the grounds from which McLuhan developed, which he worked, and on which he left his traces. Cavell is intent on >grounding= McLuhan in such Canadian thinkers as Richard Bucke and R.A. Fessenden and Bertram Brooker as well as in Harold Innis, at the same time establishing him as ground in which such Canadian artists of the 1960s and beyond as bp Nichol, Murray Schafer, and Glenn Gould came to figure. In his preface, Cavell proposes that >the concept of space is the prime category of [McLuhan=s] thought,= and that >the single most important humanities 321 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 moment in [his] intellectual career was his break from Innis=s notions of time and space.= These notions, including traditional distinctions between spatial and temporal arts and a belief that the blending of space and time was hypothetical only (i.e., groundless), gave way before McLuhan=s view that space in an electric age was not exclusively visual and not static. It was his University of Toronto colleague, the psychologist Carleton Williams, drawing upon an earlier University of Toronto psychologist, E.A. Bott, who provided McLuhan with the possibility of >acoustic= as distinct from visual space; in McLuhan=s words, >unenclosed space ... [which] has no centre and no margins since we hear from all directions simultaneously,= >space whose centre is everywhere and whose margin is nowhere.= >In contemporary culture (as in the Middle Ages),= Cavell observes, >space is once again becoming multivalent, after the centuries of uniform, perspectival space produced by the dominance of print.= Admittedly, Cavell is more concerned with making the case for McLuhan as >spatial theorist= than with his Canadian credentials, or with him as student and teacher of literature or as cultural historian. His reference to the Middle Ages, for example, despite...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 320-321
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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