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Fire Backstage

Philip Rieff and the Monastery of Culture


Christopher Cain Elliott

At present, the name and writings of Philip Rieff (1922-2006) hang under a sign of neglect. This book is an attempt to identify precisely what has been lost through this lack of critical attention, arguing that Rieff’s lifework marks a singular contribution to the fields of reactionary apocalyptics and social and cultural studies. Providing a working definition for the horizon of contemporary Jewish philosophy, this book also suggests how Rieff uniquely contributes to this field of speculative inquiry with an insufficiently appreciated, but essential, theory of psycho-theology


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Fire Backstage STUDIES IN SOCIAL SCIENCES, PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY OF IDEAS Edited by Andrzej Rychard VOLUME 3 Cain Elliott Fire Backstage Philip Rieff and the Monastery of Culture Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at This book is published in cooperation with the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Henryk Krzeczkowski Res Publica Foundation in Warsaw. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Elliott, Cain, 1983- Cain Elliott : fire backstage : Philip Rieff and the monastery of culture. — 1 [edi- tion]. pages cm. — (Studies in social sciences, philosophy and history of ideas, ISSN 2196-0151 ; Volume 3) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-3-631-64410-2 1. Rieff, Philip, 1922-2006. 2. Sociology—Philosophy. 3. Culture—Philosophy. I. Title. II. Title: Fire backstage. III. Title: Philip Rieff and the monastery of cul- ture. B63.E45 2013 301.092—dc23 2013034727 ISSN 2196-0151 ISBN 978-3-631-64410-2 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-02972-7 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-02972-7 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main ∙ Bern ∙ Bruxelles ∙ New York ∙ Oxford ∙ Warszawa ∙ Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems....

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