The lecture is dedicated to the phenomenon of the book and the man who has created and reads it.
Before obtaining its structure familiar to our everyday experience, i.e. that of a code, the book has known other formats too, including a handwritten scroll, a wax tablet, a papyrus, and even stone. Its history embraces thousands of years. Today, electronic text is taking over becoming more and more convenient. Along with the book as a material object, there exists the book as a fundamental attribute of human culture, and even more so, a metaphor for the very process of comprehending and archiving the acquired knowledge. The medium [of communication] is the message [in itself]: the famous paradox coined by Marshall McLuhan has become a criterium for understanding the means of communication, as well as their impact on man.
“The subject of nationalism and print has been held back until now lest it usurp the entire book. It will be the easier to handle the complex of issues now that we have encountered similar groupings of issues in quite different areas of experience. The present volume to this point might be regarded as a gloss on a single text of Harold Innis: „The effect of the discovery of printing was evident in the savage religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Application of power to communication industries hastened the consolidation of vernaculars, the rise of nationalism, revolution, and new outbreaks of savagery in the twentieth century“. (Marshall McLuhan. Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of the Typographic Man. 1962)
Image: A page from Johannes Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible. Fragment. Mainz, 1455