“Like a prismatic series of artist’s sketches, Pain Studies offers a dazzling variety of perspectives—personal, political, phenomenological, lyrical—on the unanswerable question of human suffering. Through virtuosic readings of everything from pre-Socratic philosophy to the trial transcripts of Joan of Arc to the cultural semiotics of House M.D., Lisa Olstein brilliantly extends the literature of pain into our contemporary historical moment. But this searching work also illuminates how pain studies us. Turning the last page on Olstein’s agonistic anatomy, we’ve come to know one of hurt’s intimate acquaintances, unbroken by her suffering, or if broken in parts, then painstakingly remade.”

Srikanth Reddy, author of Voyager and Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry