Automobility, materiality and Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis

Ian Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper I argue that an examination of changing patterns of mobility and automobility in contemporary literature can demonstrate ways that literary forms both reflect and produce cultural and social change. Focusing more specifically on automobility in Don DeLillo's 21st century novel Cosmopolis, I take into account the car as it functions symbolically in the discursive realm with its promises of freedom and liberation, and its part in discourses of power, wealth and the ecological. I also acknowledge the impact of its presence as a material object that operates within global systems of production and consumption and integrated systems of roads. I conclude that the car in DeLillo's novel not only contains ideas of automobility from the past, but also points the way forward to one future where the relative immobility of the congested automobile is countered by the mobility of the networking functions it contains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-482
JournalCultural Geographies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2012


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