This is a celebratory day, so we should not permit the physical loss of Philip Rieff to cast a cloud. Those who have read me often will know the writings of America’s most incisive and profound sociologist have a powerful effect on my view of the world, and I can recommend no modern author more highly. When I spoke to Rieff in late May, it was clear he was ailing; he talked with the cutting wit and agility of a lifelong intellect, but seemed to have ceased bothering to remember much of his own life.
His legacy, I think, is secure in the release over the next several years of three volumes of new work; and then of course there is the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s reissue of perhaps his most important Triumph of the Therapeutic.
No obituary, then; no chiseling on the gravestone. I have said a lot already here and elsewhere, and for those looking to learn more and think yet more about this remarkable man, I have finished a compilation of Rieff-related writing, mine and others, here at Postmodern Conservative.