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I've just learned of the death of Philip Rieff (1922-2006). He died last Saturday in Philadelphia. "Rieff was a sociologist best known for his examination of the social consequences — especially the moral consequences — of the assimilation of the ideas of Freud into modern culture."


In 1989, the University of Chicago Press published a collection of Rieff's essays, The Feeling Intellect: Selected Writings, edited by Jonathan B. Imber. They also have two of Rieff's most influential works: Freud: The Mind of the Moralist and The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud.


Just recently the University of Virginia Press published My Life Among the Deathworks:


...Rieff articulates a comprehensive, typological theory of Western culture. Using visual illustrations and unique juxtapositions, he displays remarkable erudition in drawing from such disciplines as sociology, history, literature, poetry, music, plastic arts, and film; he contrasts the changing modes of spiritual and social thought that have struggled for dominance throughout Western history. Our modern culture—to Rieff's mind only the "third" type in western history—is the object of his deepest scrutiny, described here as morally ruinous, death-affirming rather than life-affirming, and representing an unprecedented attempt to create a culture completely devoid of any concept of the sacred.

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