Marshall McLuhan’s DEW-Line Newsletter


The Marshall McLuhan DEW-line newsletter was “an early warning system for the changing age we live in”. It was issued by media theorist, commentator and critic Marshall McLuhan, and included several loose-leaf facsimile papers on the nature of media, society and advertising, loose-leaf reproduced advertisements, and typographic experiments. DEW-Line is an acronym for Distant Early Warning Line, a defence system set up in the northern reaches of Canada after the Cold War to detect and report any incoming invasion by the Soviets. The DEW Line became a metaphor for McLuhan on the role of art and the artist at a time of rapid social and technological change and he repeated the idea frequently. He wrote in Understanding Media (1964) “I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is begin-ning to happen to it.”

Published between 1969 and 1970, we hold every issue of the publication apart from issue 2.


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