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Imagining a New Eden in the Nuclear West



This article investigates the “atomic bucolic,” a type of pro-nuclear imagery that combined technological futurism and agrarian nostalgia. Its wasteland-to-farmland promises fit into the Edenic recovery narrative described by Carolyn Merchant. As with any instance of the bucolic, however, we must pay attention to what is present and what is absent. The blooming desert depicted in a 1940s magazine ad was a far cry from the nuclear-powered destruction and contamination taking place in the American West and elsewhere.