A Waste of a Desert: Nevada and the Cold War Chemical Legacy


  • Cinzia Scarpino




Taking the lead from Don DeLillo’s epic novel Underworld (1997) – with its overarching theme of “waste” functioning as its unifying metaphor and its picture of the American deserts turned into hazardous waste dumps or missile depots – this essay provides a close reading of the empty spaces of the Nevada desert, spaces that bear the mark left by the nuclear exploitation and the hazardous waste which have plagued Nevada since the Fifties. By linking the history of Nevada to the Cold War, and to the chemical legacy of those years, with its notions of “containment” and “weather control”, Scarpino argues that they be read as interwoven threads of the same discourse. 


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Biografia autore

Cinzia Scarpino

Cinzia Scarpino completed her doctoral dissertation devoted to “Whale and Waste.
Reading Underworld by Don DeLillo through Moby-Dick” at the University of Milan. Her
main fields of research are American twentieth-century short-story writers (Ernest
Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Carver, Grace Paley), and contemporary
authors with a New York focus (Don DeLillo, Paul Auster). She has co-edited the
volume I Soprano e gli altri. I serial televisivi




Come citare

Scarpino, Cinzia. 2009. «A Waste of a Desert: Nevada and the Cold War Chemical Legacy». Altre Modernità, n. 1 (dicembre):62-76. https://doi.org/10.13130/2035-7680/398.



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