Walter J. Ong

Walter J. Ong

On How and Why Things Are the Way They Are

By Thomas J. Farrell

American cultural historian and theorist Walter J. Ong, S.J. (1912-2003), formulated a sweeping thesis about the technologizing of the word in Western cultural history. As a result, he can be described as a technophile. In Walter J. Ong on How and Why Things Are the Way They Are, Thomas J. Farrell briefly sketches Ong’s life and scholarly career, and explains how his thought developed from the 1950s onward. Farrell discusses the political, social, and intellectual ferment in American culture in the 1960s, highlighting Ong’s contributions to the intellectual ferment of the times. Despite the conservative backlash to the ferment of the 1960s that has dominated American culture down to the present time, Ong continued to work out dimensions of his sweeping thesis in major books and articles in the subsequent decades, as Farrell notes.

About Thomas J. Farrell
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three...
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