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ISBN 978-0-8126-9800-8


xvi + 217 pages

Fall 2012

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy

A Book for Bastards, Morons, and Madmen

Edited by Keith Dromm and Heather Salter
Volume 71 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

The puzzling, frustrating world of Holden Caulfield never loosens its grip on our imagination. Somehow, the growing pains of a privileged, alienated teenager lock onto deeper issues that continue to haunt us all. The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy exposes these deeper issues by looking at Salinger’s masterpiece through a philosophic lens.

“Feeling crumby? Being a phony? That’s grand. But if you’re looking for all the David Copperfield kind of crap about Holden and The Catcher in the Rye in all of its Phoebe-like genuineness, then this is the book for you!”

 —Dean A. Kowalski, author of Moral Theory at the Movies

“A fascinating and entertaining journey. Anyone who ever wondered where the ducks go in winter needs to read this book.”

—Kenneth Slawenski,

 “The Catcher in the Rye is much like adolescence itself: funny, strange, heartbreaking, and absolutely essential for the journey to maturity. The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy is equally smart, fun, and essential. Only phonies won’t love it.”

—Rachel Luria, co-editor of Neil Gaiman and Philosophy: Gods Gone Wild!

“I always suspected philosophers were a bunch of phonies, but the chapters in The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy are not crumby at all. Lively and thoughtful, these essays allow us to examine the old high-school standard in a new light. This is the perfect book to read on the train at night while eating a ham sandwich.”

—Robert T. Tally Jr., author of Kurt Vonnegut and the American Novel

“A smart, straight-talking romp through Salinger’s literary playground. This is the real deal for those of us who still have a little Holden in our hearts. Mr. Vinson wouldn’t like it.”

—Ray Bossert, Visiting Assistant Professor at Franklin and Marshall College

“It’s the book that refuses to go away. In the seven decades since it was first published, The Catcher in the Rye has become a fixture of American pop culture and a subject of fascination to literary critics. These thoughtful chapters suggest why thoughtful people keep coming back to Salinger’s work.”

—Paul Cantor, author of Gilligan Unbound and The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture

The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy brilliantly investigates, with the perfect mix of humor and intellectual insight, the complexities and contrarieties of Salinger’s timeless masterpiece, and the whirlwind of philosophical ideas and unparalleled charm that’s made Holden Caulfield an icon for generations of readers.”

—Richard Rosenbaum, Editor, Broken Pencil magazine

 Keith Dromm is author of Sexual Harassment: An Introduction to the Conceptual and Ethical Issues (2012) and Wittgenstein on Rules and Nature (2008).

Heather Salter teaches English at Northwestern State University of Louisiana and has contributed articles to scholarly publications.

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