As Professor in the Classics Department at MU, Daniel Hooley’s research includes Roman poetry, the classical tradition, and translation studies, about which he has written three books, including his most recent, Roman Satire (2006). Hooley first became interested in studying the classics through an “accidental journey,” studying the western classics as an English and Humanities graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where he focused his studies on modernism and wrote his dissertation on how Latin poetry was translated by American modernists such as Ezra Pound or T.S. Eliot. The dissertation became his first book, The Classics in Paraphrase: Ezra Pound and Modern Translators of Latin Poetry (1988).
Whether their work seeks to counter domestic violence and ethnic genocide, identify cancer treatments, or employ literature and music to understand humanity, these MU faculty describe in their own words why this work is important to society.
Dan Hooley first became interested in studying the classics through an “accidental journey,” studying the western classics as an English and Humanities graduate student at the University of Minnesota where he focused his studies on modernism and wrote his dissertation on how Latin poetry was translated by American modernists such as Ezra Pound or T.S. Eliot.
For a long time the classics were thought of as foundational texts of western culture. Hooley sees the role of classics now as “one body of relatively coherent, related texts that constitute a tradition in themselves.” He says they have become the intellectual currency of our culture and are “great to think with.”
Hooley talks about his first book, The Classics in Paraphrase: Ezra Pound and Modern Translators of Latin Poetry, and how it opened a door for him to begin studying the various theories of translation.
Through Hooley’s work in classical studies he has developed a philosophy about why one should study the classics: “Classics is just good material. The historical distance makes it more refreshing because you see the difference and how we’re the same animals. These texts don’t dictate our ethics and laws, but help our imaginations, which I think is a good reason to study them.”
Most recently, Hooley has completed an introductory book on Roman satire. It covers the historical development of satire, explaining the genre as inherently human: “It’s in our blood; it’s hardwired into our brains.” Satire carries a very broad definition: it is partly a reaction to power and a way of expressing resistance, but at other times it provides a vehicle to poke fun at things.
While Hooley’s first book focused on Latin translations, his second book, The Knotted Thong: Structures of Mimesis in Persius (1997), is a study of Roman satire—namely of Persius, one of the three major Roman satirists. Hooley was drawn to this man and his work partly because Persius was considered such a “strange guy.” Satire, Hooley says, “fosters all those things that are healthy for the human spirit—it makes us laugh at silly things and sometimes makes us laugh at things that are egregious and wrong.”
This project is examining the traditional classification of Cicero’s orations against Catiline. Usually these four orations are classified as invective speeches, or speeches of blame. I have been comparing the content, motives, and context of the first and fourth Catilinarian orations to the precepts given in rhetorical texts written by Cicero and other texts on oratory used in the same time period. I have found through my comparisons of the texts that these orations against Catiline fit the ideal model for judicial speeches much more closely than they fit the pattern for epideictic speeches.