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Imperishable Stories: Gabi Reigh and Sean Cotter on Romanian Classics in English

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

In focus: Liviu Rebreanu and Mateiu Caragiale

While foreign translations still make a fraction of the titles published in the US and the UK, the library of Romanian books in English is growing nonetheless and recently has been enriched with two perennial classics, Ciuleandra by Liviu Rebreanu (Cadmus Press) and Rakes of the Old Court by Mateiu Caragiale (Northwestern University Press). We celebrate their arrival in the company of translators Gabi Reigh and Sean Cotter with a conversation about the relevance of these major books for their American and British readers as well as the meaning of this true editorial coup for the overall circulation of Romanian literature in the English-speaking world.

GABI REIGH moved to the UK from Romania at the age of 12 and teaches English at a college in Hampshire. In 2017, she won the Stephen Spender Prize for her translation of Marin Sorescu's poem "Călătorul", which inspired her to translate more Romanian literature. As part of her Interbellum Series project, she has translated interwar novels, poetry and drama by Lucian Blaga, Mihail Sebastian, and Liviu Rebreanu. Her translation of The Town with Acacia Trees by Mihail Sebastian was the first work translated from Romanian to receive a PEN Translates award. Her latest translation is Ciuleandra by Liviu Rebreanu.

SEAN COTTER is Professor of Literature and Literary Translation at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has translated numerous important works of Romanian literature, including Nichita Stănescu, Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems, for which he received the Three Percent Best Translated Book Award, and more recently, Mateiu Caragiale, Rakes of the Old Court, and Magda Cârneci, FEM, a finalist for the 2022 PEN Translation Prize. He is the author of the volume Literary Translation and the Idea of ​​a Minor Romania, which was awarded the prize of the Society of Romanian Studies. Professor Cotter holds a degree in English Literature from Loyola University, New Orleans, a master's degree in Humanities from The University of Texas at Dallas, and a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. Among others, he has also translated from Mircea Cărtărescu, Liliana Ursu, and Nichita Danilov.

This event, part of the Feraru Conferences Online, debuts an online and in-person book launching program focused on the most recent Romanian or Romania-themed titles reaching the American public.

1 Comment

Foster West
Foster West
Apr 20, 2023

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