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The New Middle Ages: Medievalism in McLuhan and Vacca

The New Middle Ages: Medievalism in McLuhan and Vacca

By Francesco Guardiani

McLuhan Studies, Issue 6 (1996)

Abstract: A very successful book formulated years ago in its title, The Coming Dark Age, (from the original Italian, Il medioevo prossimo venturo, by Roberto Vacca, published in 1971) a sense of anxiety over planetary end-of-the-second-millennium problems, such as “nuclear holocaust, overpopulation, pollution and ecological disaster”. What is interesting in these short-range prophecies is that one may live long enough to recognize their fallacy. Vacca predicted that we would be right in the new Middle Ages by the end of the millennium. Marshall McLuhan also spoke of the reappearance of the Middle Ages, but in totally different terms, indicating how medieval our contemporary world really is, because of the shift from a visually biased to a multisensorial perception, imposed on us by the passage from the mechanically oriented culture of the past to the one, based on electronics, in which we live.

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