Faculty at the School of Arts and Humanities

Sean Cotter


Areas of Specialization:  Translation Studies, international Modernist literature, Romanian literature.

Office:  JO 5.414
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2037

Professor Cotter specializes in the practice, theory, and history of translation. He specializes in Romanian and East European literature. His critical book, Literary Translation and the Idea of a Minor Romania, studies translators and national imagination following the imposition of Communist rule by the Soviet Union after World War Two. Professor Cotter teaches a range of subjects, such as East European Literature, International Modernisms, critical approaches to translation, and undergraduate and graduate translation workshops. His courses explore the transcultural aspects of literary works, for example, the conflict of Christian and classical traditions in Augustine's Confessions, the Iberian Arab and Jewish influences on troubadour poetry, or the international reception of Don Quixote.

Work Samples and Publications: 


Articles and Chapters:

  • "Interdisciplinary Humanities: an Introduction through Translation." In Teaching Translation: Programs, Courses, Pedagogies, ed. Lawrence Venuti (Routledge, 2016), 141–149.
  • "Rainer Maria Rilke in Lucian Blaga's Translations from English." Perspectives on Literature and Translation: Creation, Circulation, Reception. Ed.Brian Nelson and Brigid Maher (Routledge, 2013) 105–116.
  • "Romania as Europe's Translator: Translation in Constantin Noica's National Imagination." Contexts, Subtexts, and Pretexts: Literary Translation in Eastern Europe and Russia. Ed. Brian James Baer (John Benjamins, 2011) 79–95.
  • "East-Central European Literatures Twenty Years After." East European Politics and Societies 23:4 (2009) 552–81. Co-authored article, edited by Michael Heim.
  • "The Soviet Translation: Romanian Literary Translators after World War Two." Meta: Journal des traducteurs 53:4 (2008) 841–859.
  • "Translated Eliot: Lucian Blaga's Strategy for Cultural Survival and the Soviet Colonization of Romania." The International Reception of T. S. Eliot. Ed. Elisabeth Däumer and Shyamal Bagchee (Continuum, 2007) 55–68.
  • "The Sacramental Dada of T. S. Eliot," The Comparatist 26 (May 2002) 69–82.
  • "The Translation of War: Italian Futurism in Ezra Pound's Cathay." Mantis 1:2 (2002) 152–67.


  • Curl. By. T. O. Bobe. From Romanian. Boston: Wakefield Press, 2019.
  • Blinding, Left Wing. By Mircea Cărtărescu. From Romanian. Brooklyn: Archipelago Books, 2013.
    • Finalist: Three Percent Best Translated Book Award (2014)
  • Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems. By Nichita Stănescu. From Romanian. Brooklyn: Archipelago Books, 2012.
    • Winner: Three Percent Best Translated Book Award for poetry (2013)
    • World Literature Today 2013 Notable Translation
  • Lightwall. By Liliana Ursu. From Romanian. Boston: Zephyr Press, 2009.
    • Winner: PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation (2009)
    • Finalist: PEN USA Literary Award for Translation (2010)
    • Finalist: Three Percent Best Translated Book Award (2010)
  • Balkan Aphrodite. By Nicolae Tzone. From Romanian. Translated by Sean Cotter and Ioana Ieronim. Bucharest: Editura Vinea, 2006.
  • Goldsmith Market. By Liliana Ursu. From Romanian. Boston: Zephyr Press, 2003.
  • Second-Hand Souls: Selected Writings. By Nichita Danilov. From Romanian. Prague: Twisted Spoon Press, 2003.
  • Singular Destinies: Contemporary Poets from Bessarabia. From Romanian. Translated and edited by Sean Cotter, Adam J. Sorkin, and Cristina Cîrstea. Chişinău, Republic of Moldova: Editura Cartier, 2003.
    • Winner: President Mihai Cimpoi Award of the Moldovan Writers' Union
  • Dinner at the Table of Silence: Writers from Gorj. From Romanian. Translated and edited by Sean Cotter and Liliana Ursu. Cluj, Romania: Editura Clusium, 2002.
  • Essays and translations in many journals, in the United States and Romania, including: Conjunctions, Pleiades, Massachusetts Review, AGNI Online, România literară, 22, Observator cultural, Translation Review, Kenning, Hayden's Ferry Review, Iowa Review Online, Words without Borders, The American Reader.


  • Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Book Prize
  • PEN/Heim Translation Fund
  • Three Percent Best Translated Book Award for Poetry
  • National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship
  • Extraordinary Contributions to the Promotion of Romanian Literature through Translation, from the Institute for Romanian Culture
  • Fulbright-Hays Research Grant
  • PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation
  • President Mihai Cimpoi Award of the Moldovan Writers' Union
  • Harry C. Routledge Prize of the Southern Comparative Literature Association

PhD, University of Michigan, 2004
MA, University of Texas at Dallas, 1998
BA, Loyola University, New Orleans, 1993

Curriculum Vitae:  Sean Cotter's CV