Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries.
McLuhan is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and "the global village" and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. Although he was a fixture in media discourse in the late 1960s, his influence waned in the years before and after his death and he continued to be a controversial figure in academic circles. In the Internet age, however, there was renewed interest in his work and perspective.
McLuhan was born in Edmonton, Alberta, to Elsie Naomi (née Hall) and Herbert Ernest McLuhan. His brother, Maurice, was born two years later. "Marshall" was a family name: his maternal grandmother's surname. Both of his parents were born in Canada. His mother was a Baptist schoolteacher who later became an actress. His father was a Methodist and had a real estate business in Edmonton. When war broke out, the business failed, and McLuhan's father enlisted in the Canadian army. After a year of service he contracted influenza and remained in Canada, away from the front. After Herbert's discharge from the army in 1915, the McLuhan family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Marshall grew up and went to school, attending Kelvin Technical School before enrolling in the University of Manitoba in 1928.