ERIC Number: EJ889805
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Reference Count: 11
Philip Rieff: The Mind of a Dualist
Smelser, Neil J.
Social Psychology Quarterly, v70 n3 p221-229 Sep 2007
Philip Rieff, who died on July 1, 2006, will be remembered as a most unusual and brilliant cultural critic, theorist of culture, and prophet of cultural doom. This essay is written neither to extol nor to attack him--though there will be some of each--but mainly to reflect on some larger issues raised by his works. The occasion for the essay is his death and the publication of two posthumous books, "My Life among the Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority" (2006), published only months after his death, and "Charisma: The Gift of Grace and How It has Been Taken From Us" (2007), mainly written in 1973 but published even more recently than "Deathworks". Though Rieff had written two lesser works, "Fellow Teachers" (1973) and "The Feeling Intellect" (1990), the later years of his life were somewhat barren of publications. By far the most influential of his writings were "Freud: The Mind of the Moralist" (1959) and "The Triumph of the Therapeutic" (1966). The two volumes published just after his death are best regarded as extension of conclusions reached in his first two works. This essay provides a few biographical details about Rieff and takes up a number of general issues that arise from his worldview and his intellectual method.
Descriptors: Recognition (Achievement), Reputation, Authors, World Views, Psychiatry, Social Sciences, Therapy, Social Theories
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A