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Volume 72, Issue 124, Friday, April 6, 2007


Prof was ‘not just a lecturer'

Dachslager is remembered as an inspired literature teacher who passed his enthusiasm on to students

The Daily Cougar

Earl Lee Dachslager, a professor emeritus of English and expert on all things Shakespeare, died Feb. 24 at the age of 74 after battling lung cancer.

Dachslager came to the University in 1969. Students gravitated to his courses because of his ability to ignite their passion for classic literature with his own enthusiasm -- he was known for bringing Shakespeare's plays alive by acting out the parts.

John McNamara, professor of English, observed him after Dachslager was nominated for a teaching excellence award.

"He was not just a lecturer," McNamara said. "He interacted with his students and got them fired up about Shakespeare. It was truly an exciting and stimulating experience."

Dachslager was curious about everything and never stopped learning, his son Larry Dachslager said. 

"While he was a highly respected teacher, he always thought of himself as a student," he said.

He loved music, especially jazz. His collection contained classics ranging from Cole Porter and George Gershwin to Michael Jackson's Thriller. 

"I came over to his house once and he was playing Michael Jackson," Larry Dachslager said. "It was one the most popular albums ever released, and he wanted to find out why. Of course, he hated it, but he wanted to know about it."

Dachslager wrote book reviews for the Houston Chronicle in addition to teaching. He became one of the most prolific and thoughtful local reviewers the newspaper has ever seen, Fritz Lanham, Houston Chronicle book editor, said. 

"He was an academic, very knowledgeable about everything," Lanham said. "But he wrote in a way that was always accessible to the reader. That's rare."

After retiring in 2001, Dachslager continued to teach at the University Center at The Woodlands through last semester.

Dachslager was born in Baltimore on Dec. 24, 1932. He graduated from the University of Arizona before returning home to attend the University of Maryland, where he received a doctorate in English. 

He is survived by his wife, Laurel, his two sons, Larry and Saul, and his daughter, Maxine Goodman.

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