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Inscriptorium 2.0 – The Working Library of Eric McLuhan

June 27, 2018

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

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