Faculty Profile: Prof. Dan Curley
by Ellen Hohmann '00
You may have noticed a new face around the Classics office; or rather, you may have seen a flannel-clad blur streaking through the halls of Bolton, shirttails flapping in the wind and students reeling in his wake. This would be the force known as Professor Dan Curley.
Dan Curley is the latest addition to our lineup, taking up the weight of Cicero and Roman private life (in intermediate and advanced Latin, respectively), epic poetry, and as of next semester, beginning Greek and a seminar in Ovid. He has also taught Greek tragedy and a seminar in Classical biography (Fall ’98).
His goal in teaching is to bring the Classical world to life, to create a hands-on experience for his students, as in last semester’s production of Orpheus Deceived. And, as his students well know, he also has a penchant for finding ways to put the Classics on the Internet. These approaches, he hopes, will help students explore the ways in which the Classical world informs our daily life, to see how we carry on the Classical tradition.
Prof. Curley, originally of Milwaukee, WI (yes, he is a pop drinker), comes to us after a seven-year stint as graduate student and TA at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he gained experience teaching Latin, etymology, myth, Greek, and Greek literature. Prior to his years in Seattle, he completed his MA in Classics at Washington U. in St. Louis, MO, and his undergraduate degree in Classical Philology at Beloit College in Beloit, WI.
In addition to his demanding course schedule, he is now in the final (and most excruciating) stage of completing his dissertation on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, specifically how the various levels of tension between epic poetry and tragedy interact. Ovid, he says, tells tragic stories as epic, but also as tragedy, trying to create his own fifth-century Athens in Imperial Rome, or in other words, his own genre of tragedy.
Although Ovid is his obvious preference (dare we say obsession?), other favorites include Horace, Sappho, and Hesiod. He also enjoys Tacitus and Herodotus for the way they describe history, giving a much more comprehensive background of historical situations, a behind-the-scenes look that includes all relevant information on a subject; their styles are less streamlined than those of modern authors, but also ultimately more enjoyable.
When he is not immersed in the literature of
the Long-Since-Dead, he enjoys perfecting his bowling skills, making kites
with his daughter Kaitlin, playing guitar, and cooking (Italian, of course).
He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Krista, who is working on her
Ph.D. in environmental engineering. When asked for a word of inspiration
for us all, he answered, “Bowling is a metaphor for life: sometimes you
get a strike, sometimes you get a split, and lots of times you gutter.
But there’s always that second ball in the ball-return.”