Of Frames and Wonders: Translation and Transnationalism in the work of Janette Turner Hospital

Jessica Trevitt


Author Janette Turner Hospital has been claimed as Australian, Canadian and American. She grew up in Brisbane, travelled extensively as an academic through England, France and India, and now lives in South Carolina. She actively renounces any national ties, and is what some critics would call a “transnational writer”. Her work reflects this ideology, dealing with notions of place and identity in a globalised community.

The field of translation studies has seen a recent burgeoning interest in notions of spatial disruption in a transnational society. Theorists have questioned where the act of translation sits in relation to the geographical, temporal and ideological place of the translator, locating it in a liminal space “in between” or on a transcended level “beyond”. While Sherry Simon has noted the lack of studies on translation within transnational spaces, the same could be said of studies of Hospital. Just as questions of language can be seen as central to a globalised society, so they can be seen as central to her narratives.

Taking as a springboard previous work on Hospital which has highlighted links between her writing and the discourse of transnationalism, this article explores how translation functions thematically in her short story “Frames and Wonders”. Ultimately it seeks to present Hospital’s narrative as a ‘tentative model’ (West-Pavlov, 2001) of the relation between translation and transnationalism.


Janette Turner Hospital; transnational literature

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