The Outsider and the Feudal Man: on McLuhan’s Don Quixote

Andrea Lombardinilo


This proposal provides an insight into the role played by Cervantes within McLuhan’s mediology, inspired by the social impact of the literary imaginary and narrative processes. In The Gutenberg Galaxy, McLuhan focuses on Don Quixote along with the communicative shifts engendered by the transition from manuscript to the printed word. The rise of printing leads to individualism, autonomy and new forms of nationalism, as Cervantes outlines in presenting “the case of the feudal man confronted with a newly visually quantified and homogeneous world” (McLuhan, 2011: 242). McLuhan identifies Don Quixote as an outsider and a kind of alienated man whose contemporary complexity stems from the incompatibility between the linear organization of printing culture and electric simultaneity. Don Quixote is the emblem of such a social imaginary engendered by the evolution of communicative patterns. Hence the reference to Riesman’s “inner direction towards remote goals”, thus considering the “print culture and the perspective and vanishing point organization of space that are part of it” (McLuhan, 2011: 244).


Mediology | Communication | Imaginary | Literature | Complexity

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis