Translating Pain: Immigrant Suffering in Literature & Culture

ESN member Madelaine Hron, assistant professor in the Department of English and Film at Wilfrid Lauriern University (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), just announced the release of Translating Pain: Immigrant Suffering in Literature & Culture (University of Toronto Press, February 12, 2009).

The book cover, the book title, and previous conversations with the author (extending back to her 2004-2005 post-doc at Carnegie Mellon University), led me to ask her whether she would be willing to share about her work with ESN.  Madelaine quickly responded by passing along the below summary and commenting that she would be happy to answer any questions folks may have regarding her new book. So if you have questions, post them.  Also, if you’d have interest in an on-line ESN reading group, let me know.  Note to faculty:  you might consider ordering it as an academic resource.

Translating Pain:  Immigrant Suffering in Literature & Culture

Translating Pain: Immigrant Suffering in Literature & Culture


In the post–Cold War, post–9/11 era, the immigrant experience has changed dramatically. Despite the recent successes of immigrant and world literatures, there has been little scholarship on how the hardships of immigration are conveyed in immigrant narratives. Translating Pain fills this gap by examining literature from Muslim North Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe to reveal the representation of immigrant suffering in fiction.

Applying immigrant psychology to literary analysis, Madelaine Hron examines the ways in which different forms of physical and psychological pain are expressed in a wide variety of texts. She juxtaposes post-colonial and post-communist concerns about immigration, and contrasts Muslim world views with those of Caribbean creolité and post–Cold War ethics. Demonstrating how pain is translated into literature, she explores the ways in which it also shapes narrative, culture, history, and politics.

A compelling and accessible study, Translating Pain is a groundbreaking work of literary and postcolonial studies.

‘Madelaine Hron’s insights into immigrant literature are fascinating. Translating Pain’s unique and innovative perspective crosses linguistic, cultural, and national borders and takes an important step towards a more global understanding of the phenomenon of displacement.’ — Andreea D. Ritivoi, Carnegie Mellon University

‘Hron studies immigrant assimilation as a process of translation, neither romanticizing nor criticizing the migrant while providing deep insight into the processes of adaptation and self-transformation that migrants negotiate both with the new culture and within themselves.’ — Alison Rice, University of Notre Dame

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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