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Call for Abstracts: Warren Zevon and Philosophy

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We are seeking abstracts for Warren Zevon and Philosophy, to be published by Carus Books, the editorial team behind the long-running Popular Culture and Philosophy series by Open Court.

Submission Guidelines:

All submissions—abstract, biography, and chapters (if accepted)—should be written for an educated, non-specialized audience. References should be minimal, and it is nearly always better to describe concepts yourself than to use quotations. Also (and this is important), your writing should be fun or interesting to read! We strongly suggest that you refer to past volumes in the series to get a sense of the intended style. Chapters are expected to be 3k words.

Interested persons should submit, by October 15, 2021, the following to John E. MacKinnon (john.mackinnon@smu.ca) as a single Microsoft Word document: 1) An abstract of between 100 and 500 words (written in an engaging style); 2) A biographical statement for each author/co-author, no more than 125 words each (also written in an engaging style); 3) A CV for each author/co-author.


October 15, 2021: Abstracts and other submission materials are due to the editor.

January 15, 2022: Editor will notify authors of their potential involvement

May 15, 2022: Finished essays are due from the authors

August 15, 2022: Editorial review, revision, and proofreading

Example Topics: All chapters should have two related goals: 1) to entertainingly engage with the music and life of Warren Zevon and 2) to expand readers’ appreciation of Zevon and his music by drawing on philosophical concepts and thinkers. Submissions which fail to satisfy both aims will not be considered. Again, we strongly suggest referring to past volumes in the series for examples of this practice. Any relevant topic will be considered, including thoughtful commentary on particular songs or albums, but here are some examples of the kinds of chapters we are seeking:

  • Zevon’s mastery of what Jackson Browne calls “song noir.”
  • Zevon and the perils of fame (consider in light of his own reflections on this in “Jesus Mentioned” and “Porcelain Monkey”).
  • The place of history in Zevon’s music (“Frank and Jesse James,” “Veracruz,” “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” “Ourselves to Know”)
  • The literary Zevon.
  • Zevon and the art of collaboration (in relation to the songs he co-wrote with, for instance, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas McGuane, Carl Hiaasen, Paul Muldoon, and Jorge Calderón).
  • Zevon and the aesthetics of the cover version (his covers of others’ music, like “Wild Thing,” “A Certain Girl,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Back in the High Life,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” as well as other musicians’ covers of his work).
  • Zevon on the sporting life (“Bill Lee,” “Boom Boom Mancini,” “Hit Somebody”).
  • Zevon on our obsession with harm (“Life’ll Kill Ya”), and the further means of discipline and control that it warrants. 
  • Zevon’s evocation of Los Angeles (“Desperadoes Under the Eaves”, “Carmelita,” “Join Me in L.A.,” “Charlie’s Medicine”). 
  • Zevon in a censorious age: themes of sex and race.
  • Zevon and the dystopian (“Desperadoes under the Eaves,” “Run Straight Down”)
  • Zevon and sin.
  • Zevon, death and dying.

Carus Books is now taking over the publishing mission of Open Court Publishing Company. To propose ideas for future volumes, please contact David R. Steele, at dramsaysteele@gmail.com

For more information on the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series, check: www.popularculturandphilosophy.com

Thank you! John E. MacKinnon (john.mackinnon@smu.ca)