Douglass Parker

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 (Ross) 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]

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),[2] as well as other classical and literary works. His translations of plays have been republished multiple times, and have been performed around the world.

Parker was Professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin for forty years, recruited there in 1967 by William Arrowsmith.[3] 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.[4] His courses crossed traditional disciplinary boundaries[5] 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.[6] 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."[7]

Parker had a passion for jazz, playing the trombone throughout his life, and elements of jazz improvisation and creativity also were themes in his research and teaching. He had interests in fantasy and science fiction as well, and published one of the first scholarly analyses of Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings. Creativity and fantasy are foundations of imaginary words—including those of the Odyssey, the Land of Oz, and Middle Earth—and in parageography Parker sought insight on the creative process of writing.[8]

Parker died after a bout with cancer at his home in Austin, Texas at age 83. He suggested that his epitaph read: "but I digress...".[9]


  • 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 9780451531247. 
  • 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 9780472061532. 
  • 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 9780472061525. 
  • Douglass Parker (1974). "The Eunuch (Eunochous); Phormio". In Palmer Bovie. Terence: the Comedies. ISBN 9780801843549. 
  • Douglass Parker (1999). "Menaechmi (Double Bind); Bacchides (The Wild Women)". In Deena Berg, Douglass Parker. Five Comedies: Miles Gloriosus, Menaechmi, Bacchides, Hecyra and Adelphoe. ISBN 9780872203624. 
  • 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, 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 9783261042668. 


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