Marshall McLuhan (Herbert Marshall McLuhan), 1911–80, Canadian communications theorist and educator, b. Edmonton, Alta. He taught at the Univ. of Toronto (1946–80) and at other institutions of higher education in Canada and the United States. McLuhan gained popularity and fame in the 1960s with his prophetic proposal that electronic media, especially television, were creating a
"the medium is the message,"
i.e., the means of communications has a greater influence on people than the information itself. While many of the mass media were in early stages of development, McLuhan considered their effects on people to be potentially toxic and dehumanizing. His books include The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), Understanding Media (1964), From Cliché to Archetype (1970, with W. Watson), and City as Classroom (1977, with K. Hutchon and E. McLuhan).
See biographies by W. T. Gordon (1997) and D. Coupland (2010).