Douglass S. Parker, Sr. was a Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin for forty years (1967-2007). 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. His translations of the plays of Aristophanes have been performed around the world.
He had a passion for jazz music, and played the trombone throughout his life. Improvisation and creativity were important themes in his teaching and personal interests.
In his own words (from a UT course description):
Douglass Parker is Professor of Classics. His B.A. is from Michigan, his Ph.D. from Princeton. He has taught at Yale and UCalifornia/Riverside, has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth and Michigan. He has been at Texas for a very long time ... since the Fall of 1967. He was honored for undergraduate teaching at Cal/Riverside in 1957, and for graduate teaching at Texas in 1985. He has been a Fellow of the Hellenic Center and of the California Institute for the Creative Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellow.
He rarely thinks of himself as an academic, but rather as an itinerant trombonist who took a wrong turn about 1946; he's been known to venture the opinion that man's highest achievement is jazz improvisation. He has published on bebop and on Tolkien.
He is known for his verse translations of ancient comedies from Greek and Latin, especially of Aristophanes' Lysistrata, first performed in 1964 and still on stage somewhere. He's a ham actor, and appeared yearly in Shakespeare here, when we did that sort of thing in the 1970's. He dotes on incongruity, teaching courses in "Serendipity," "Improvisation," "Fragments," "Labyrinths," "Oz," and "ParaGeography" (his own invention). He writes poetry (sessions of "Zeus in Therapy") and prose (detective stories based on odd Latin syntax). He is devoted to his department and university, and serves them as a functioning example of antiquity.
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