Lamberti on McLuhan's Glosses

Lamberti writing in an essay for the 2012 edition of GG looks more closely at McL's method of the mosaic. She aligns it with modernist devices and experiments, most notably with Pound's sense of the image in the cantos.

Each tessera is titled with with what McL called a probe, a term he continued from The Mechanic Bride. Lamberti sees these aphorisms / assertions / titles as glosses, taking the back to medieval and sideways to the scholarly practice of providing a marginal gloss on the content with which to focus a contemplation of the argument.

A good gloss, Lamberti finally leads to, operates like a Poundian poem to focus contemplative energies, and operating, at its best, iconically - where the syntactic form of the gloss echoes or reproduces the content - where the medium of the gloss is the message.

from Extending The Gutenberg Galaxy ELENA LAMBERTI

> The density of the probe, its aphoristic and paratactic structure, as well as its connection to the paradoxical aim to counterbalance its brevity by encouraging a deeper and more engaging investigation. It is not by chance that McLuhan also called these probes glosses – as in The Gutenberg Galaxy – therefore employing a term used in biblical exegesis to explain passages in the text; a term which was also used to indicate marginal notes in manuscripts and printed versions of texts both in the classic and the vulgar tradition. A probe or gloss is a dynamic rhetorical device envisaged as a textual addition that creates a series of related patterns of knowledge inside and outside the text itself. If readers read through the probe – that is, if they see it as a window opening on a broader (textual and contextual) landscape – they read in depth , investigating and discussing possible meanings, links, and further implications. If they skip from a probe to the next one quickly, they can just have fun and use the mosaic as a form of amusing diversion which, nevertheless, can induce unexpected associations and, in time, even understanding and knowledge. ...

So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the music of his song, he began. Through The Looking-Glass

McLuhan’s mosaic is primarily a tool enhancing our capability to learn and apprehend through the interplay of ancient wisdom and cognitive stimulation; it is not simply a way to convey simultaneity and dress knowledge in a format employing different media models in order to offer a more lively , real , and immediate experience. It is not, so to speak, the embodiment of the media fan but of the media grammarian.

... As Moos insightfully suggests, McLuhan’s writing (as well as Innis’s) does not anticipate hypertext as a database that we can access, but as “a mode of thinking that reaches back into your own ‘headset’ and accesses you.” GG, intro ELENA LAMBERTI Locate Moos, “The Hypertext Heuristic,”

See also Marshall McLuhan and the modernist writers’ legacy / Elena Lamberti in At the speed of light there is only illumination : a reappraisal of Marshall McLuhan / edited by John Moss and Linda M. Morra.