Douglass Parker

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Douglass Stott Parker, Sr. (May 27, 1927 – February 8, 2011) was an American classicist, academic, and translator.

Born in LaPorte, Indiana, the son of Cyril Rodney Parker and Isobel (née Douglass) Parker, Douglass received an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Princeton University. He was also a Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in 1961-1962, its inaugural year, and a Guggenheim Scholar.[1] His translation of The Congresswomen (Ecclesiazusae) was among the Finalists for The National Book Award in the category of Translation in 1968.[2]

Parker is known for his work in Greek and Roman comedy, particularly his translations of Aristophanes’ plays Lysistrata (1964), The Wasps (1962) and The Congresswomen (Ecclesiazusae) (1967). He is also known for his translations of Terence’s The Eunuch (Eunuchus), and Plautus' The Brothers Menaechmus (Menaechmi),[3] as well as other classical and literary works. His translations of plays have been republished multiple times, and have been performed around the world. Lysistrata has had over two hundred productions.

Parker was Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin for forty years, recruited there in 1967 by William Arrowsmith.[4] Earlier he had been a professor at Yale (1953-55) and at the University of California, Riverside (1955-67). He taught classes in Greek and Latin languages and literature, as well as a discipline of his own creation, parageography—the study of imaginary worlds.[5][6] His courses crossed traditional disciplinary boundaries[7] and were popular; he was known at the University of Texas for his breadth of knowledge and teaching, and won graduate and undergraduate teaching awards.[8][9] In 2011 the Journal Didaskalia dedicated its new endeavors to "Douglass Parker, who embodied the interplay between scholarship and practice, between an acute understanding of the ancient world and a keen sense of modern audience."[10] Didaskalia subsequently published a pair of wide-ranging interviews from 1981 and 1982.[11]

Parker had a passion for jazz, playing the trombone throughout his life, and elements of jazz improvisation and creativity were themes in his research and teaching. He also had interests in fantasy and science fiction, and published one of the first scholarly analyses of Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings. Creativity and fantasy are foundations of imaginary worlds—including those of the Odyssey, the Land of Oz,[12] and Middle Earth—and in parageography Parker sought insight on the creative process of writing.[13][14] He referred to the parageography course as "a course in 'Applied Creativity'".[15]

Parker often combined elements of creativity with comedy, and starting in 1979 for example, developed installments of Zeus in Therapy, a series of humorous verse monologues in which Zeus reflects on his experiences and complains to his therapist about difficulties of managing the universe.[16] The imagined sessions in these installments get at the power of one's innermost thoughts.[17] A theatrical adaptation of "Zeus in Therapy" was developed by the Tutto Theatre Company in August 2013.[18]

Parker died after a bout with cancer in Austin, Texas, at age 83. He suggested that his epitaph read: "but I digress...".[19]


  • Douglass Parker (1961). The Acharnians, by Aristophanes. University of Michigan Press.
  • Douglass Parker (1962). The Wasps, by Aristophanes. University of Michigan Press.
  • Douglass Parker (1964). Lysistrata, by Aristophanes. University of Michigan Press, Signet Classics. ISBN 978-0-451-53124-7.
  • Douglass Parker (1967). The Congresswomen (Ecclesiazusae), by Aristophanes. University of Michigan Press.
  • Douglass Parker (1969). "The Wasps". In William Arrowsmith. Aristophanes—Three Comedies: The Birds; The Clouds; The Wasps. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-06153-2.
  • Douglass Parker (1969). "Lysistrata; The Acharnians; The Congresswomen". In William Arrowsmith. Aristophanes—Four Comedies: Lysistrata; The Acharnians; The Congresswomen; The Frogs. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-06152-5.
  • Douglass Parker (1974). "The Eunuch (Eunochous); Phormio". In Palmer Bovie. Terence: the Comedies. ISBN 978-0-8018-4354-9.
  • Douglass Parker (1999). "Menaechmi (Double Bind); Bacchides (The Wild Women)". In Deena Berg, Douglass Parker. Five Comedies (by Plautus and Terence): Miles Gloriosus, Menaechmi, Bacchides, Hecyra and Adelphoe. ISBN 978-0-87220-362-4.
  • Douglass Parker (2014). "Eirini (Peace), Ploutos (Money, the God; Plutus; Wealth), Samia (Wedding Day; The Girl from Samos)". In Timothy J. Moore. Three Comedies (by Aristophanes and Menander): Peace; Money, the God; Samia. ISBN 978-1-62466-185-3.
  • Douglass Parker (1957). "Hwaet We Holbylta... (review of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien)". Hudson Review. 9 (4): 598–609. JSTOR 4621633.
  • Douglass Parker (1969). "The Ovidian Coda". Arion. 8 (1): 80–97. JSTOR 20163183.
  • Douglass Parker (1979). "Ars Poetica I: Beginning". Hudson Review. 31 (4): 631–634. JSTOR 3850044.
  • Douglass Parker (1985). "The Curious Case of Pharaoh's Polyp, And Related Matters". SubStance. 14 (2): 74–86. JSTOR 3685053.
  • Douglass Parker (April 8, 1991). "The Two Homers". The New Republic: 33–38.
  • Douglass Parker, Wolfgang F. Michael (1991). Anabion 1540: Text Lateinisch und Deutsch (translation and commentary in German of Johannes Sapidus' work of 1540: Anabion). Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-261-04266-8.
  • Douglass Parker (1991). "Chapter Ten". In Harry A. Wilmer. Creativity: Paradoxes & Reflections. Chiron Publications. ISBN 978-0-933029-44-6.
  • Douglass Parker (1994). "'Donna Lee' and the Ironies of Bebop". In Dave Oliphant. The Bebop Revolution in Words and Music. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. ISBN 978-0-87959-131-1.


  1. ^ List of Guggenheim Fellowships awarded in 1984
  2. ^ The National Book Awards, Winners & Finalists Since 1950:
  3. ^ Bryn Mawr Classical Review:
  4. ^ Douglass Parker. "WAA -- an Intruded Gloss". Arion, Third Series. 2 (2/3): 251–256. JSTOR 20163546.
  5. ^ New York Times (December 29, 1991). "CAMPUS LIFE: Texas; A Course That Explores Fantasy Lands". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Douglass S. Parker (2006). Parageography Course Outline.
  7. ^ "Orpheus & Orphism in Literature, Art, & Music". University of Texas Plan II Curriculum. 2005. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.
  8. ^ University of Texas (2011). "Public Affairs notice".
  9. ^ University of Texas Faculty Council (2011). "In Memoriam: Douglass S. Parker".
  10. ^ "Remembering Douglass Parker, 1927-2011". Didaskalia. 8 (1). 2011.
  11. ^ "Interview: Douglass Parker". Didaskalia. 9 (15). 2012.
  12. ^ Kelsey McKinney (May 17, 2012). "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a children's classic, lives on through many editions and sequels". Cultural Compass (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas).
  13. ^ Hilary Hylton (1986). "Imagining Worlds". Alcade. 75 (2).
  14. ^ Katherine S. Mangan (October 9, 1991). "Classics Professor's Popular Course Takes Students on Rigorous Exploration of Imaginary Landscapes". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  15. ^ Douglass S. Parker (1982). Parageography -- Course Notes -- 1982 (PDF).
  16. ^ Southern Illinois University Daily Egyptian (October 7, 1998). "Classics professor portrays a candid Zeus".
  17. ^ Tom Palaima (August 8, 2013). "Palaima: Opening the door to our inner selves". Austin American-Statesman.
  18. ^ Catherine Katmull (August 16, 2013). "Deus Ex Analysis: Tutto Theatre's 'Zeus in Therapy' gives new voice to the late, great UT classics prof, Douglass Stott Parker". The Austin Chronicle.
  19. ^ "Douglass S. Parker (2011)". CAMWS (Classical Association of the Middle West and the South). 2011.

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