Douglass S. Parker (2011)

Douglass S. Parker

University of Texas, Austin

February 8, 2011

DOUGLASS STOTT PARKER was among the most creative and beloved members of our profession. He was born on May 27, 1927 and received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1952 with a dissertation on Epicurean imagery in Lucretius. In his 40 years of teaching at the University of Texas, he taught courses in the theory of translation, classical civilization, and a specialty of his own devising, parageography, the geography of fantastical realms. There can hardly be a reader interested at any level in Greek comedy who has not used his translations of Aristophanes, which he began in the late 1960s about the time of the ascent of Arion magazine, begun by him and William Arrowsmith and others in the Texas Classics Department. He had recently translated some Roman comedies as well and translated many Greek and Roman from the familiar (Ovid, Metamorphoses 1) to the rarefied (Nonnos). He had the gifts of wide reading, deep knowledge of the languages, a ready wit and a sense of theatre that made his translations come almost as alive on the page as they were on the stage. He was a fatherly mentor to professional classicists interested in ancient theatre and modern presentation and was himself last seen on stage as the elder Housman in the reading of Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love at the 2002 APA meeting. He was a Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in its inaugural year 1961-2 and he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984. He greatly loved jazz and played the trombone in jazz groups all of his life, specializing in improvisation. He died in Austin on February 8, 2011 at the age of 83. He requested that his epitaph read, "but I digress…"

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