Walter J. Ong

(2990 words)

Walter Jackson Ong, S.J., was one of the most deeply original thinkers in the twentieth century. He has more than 400 different publications to his credit, not counting reprintings. In his early work he studied the writings on dialectic and rhetoric of Peter Ramus (Pierre de la Ramée, 1515-1572), the French humanist logician and educational reformer. Through a great variety of publications and lectures, Ong arguably did as much as his friend and former teacher Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) to call attention to the specific nature of -- and differences between -- primary oral culture, chirographic (or manuscript) culture, typographic (or print) culture, and secondary oral culture. (Ong's thinking about these different forms of culture i…

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Farrell, Thomas J.. "Walter J. Ong". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 March 2007
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]