CFA The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy

full name / name of organization: 
Keith Dromm and Heather Salter

Abstracts are sought for a collection of philosophical essays on J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, to be edited by Keith Dromm and Heather Salter. The volume will be published by Open Court as part of their successful Popular Culture and Philosophy Series. Previous volumes in the series include Seinfeld and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, Hitchcock and Philosophy, The Golden Compass and Philosophy, and many others.

Abstracts should be for essays that use philosophy to illuminate the novel's characters, story, or themes. The volume is geared toward a general audience, readers who may have little to no prior familiarity with philosophy. The chapters should be accessible, clearly written, and capable of engaging non-philosophers.

Possible topics or areas to be explored include:

• The meaning of "phony"
• Is Holden a phony? How can a person know whether he or she is a phony?
• Phoniness and Bullshit (Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit, Open Court's Bullshit and Philosophy, etc.)
• Holden's sense of responsibility (i.e., being a "catcher in the rye")
• Holden's lying
• Is Holden Caulfield really mentally ill? (Foucault, philosophy of psychology, etc.)
• The Catcher in the Rye on happiness
• Censorship
• Existentialism in The Catcher in the Rye (e.g., phoniness versus authenticity)
• Holden's metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, or aesthetics (or those of other characters)

Chapters that introduce readers to classic philosophers (e.g., Plato, Descartes, Wittgenstein, etc.) or philosophical movements (e.g., pragmatism, Kantian ethics, etc.) are especially sought, along with those that use philosophical ideas to illuminate aspects of The Catcher in the Rye. Potential contributors are encouraged to look at other volumes in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy Series before submitting their proposals.


1. Abstracts should be 1-2 pages in length.
2. Submit a CV for each author
3. E-mail submissions in MS Word to
4. Submission Deadline: May 25, 2010

Selected contributors will be notified by June 10, 2010. Finished chapters will be due August 20, 2010 and should be 12-15 pages in length. Further guidelines will be provided to selected contributors.