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My Life among the Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority

(Sacred Order/Social Order #1)

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  9 reviews
With "My Life among the Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority, " the renowned cultural theorist and Freud scholar Philip Rieff inaugurates a trilogy that signals the summation of his scholarly lifework. With this series, "Sacred Order/Social Order, " to be published in consecutive volumes, Rieff both continues and supersedes the lines of thought that cha ...more
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by University of Virginia Press (first published 2006)
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Eric
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of western culture
Recommended to Eric by: Brandon Wolfram
To say that Rieff writes with tortured syntax is to give him too much credit. Writing style aside, Rieff in fact is very clear about the current status of the West, after the effects of the culture wars (which he pushes back for at least 200 years, and longer in some instances). What academia considers the culture wars is just the past few decades, and conducted primarily on U.S. college campuses.

Rieff drives home that the elites of the current anti-culture do not claim to be next in Western cul
...more
Avery
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
An anti-modern book written with postmodern language and admiring the intellect of some postmodernists, especially Joyce. Wins points for intellectual honesty, erudition, completeness, and moral insight; loses points for clarity.
Aaron Crofut
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not for the fainthearted. I hardly know what else to say. A deconstruction of postmodernism using the very style of postmodernism. Brilliant flashes mixed in with muddle. For that reason, I'm just going to bullet point a few ideas that really struck me.

* 1st World (paganism) based on Fate, 2nd World (monotheism) based on Faith, 3rd World based on criticism of that which came before. No positive message that is taken seriously, no true Utopia despite the occasional bits of rhetoric. Modern art an
...more
Zachary
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture, philosophy
Rieff was a hard pill to swallow. Actually, I found that I had to chew over Rieff's words to even begin to scratch the surface of what he has written in this book. I am fascinated by his insights and observations, as well as his perspective on Freud (and Nietzsche) and his impact upon the world (both the second and third). But I must admit that I am sure I will not come to fully appreciate the depth and breadth of this book for years to come, for it is much more than can be absorbed in the first ...more
Michael Greer
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account of what we might mean when we use the world "culture." Unlike Goering who would reach for his pistol, Rieff explains culture as a human response to the ultimate in life. There have been, throughout history, different responses to the ultimate: fate, faith, and now, in our own time, fiction. Okay, so it sounds a little contrived: fate, faith, and fiction. But it's something that can organize a preliminary discussion.

By fate, all ancient cultures grasped that mankind does no
...more
Michael
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Brilliant. Difficult to understand, and I’m afraid that does hurt how I rate it. My third Rieff book to read and after reading this and Triumph of the Therapeutic, I’m at least sympathetic to the theory that Sontag actually wrote the text for that, because it was at least clear and lucid. In this book he has moments of clarity, but there are long stretches where I don’t really understand what he means.
David Bruyn
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, aesthetics
Impenetrable.
David M.
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
If I return to this book again someday, I hope to understand it better.

For now, what I did understand was extremely helpful.
Edward Hooban
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Prescient
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Sacred Order/Social Order (3 books)
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