This is the official site of Professor Paul Tynegate Piehler MA (Oxon), PhD (Columbia)
Born in London June 26, l929. Scholar of King William’s College, Isle of Man, l942-48. Joined the Somerset Light Infantry as Second Lieutenant, and served in Somalia and Kenya, l948-49. Studied English with C.S. Lewis and J.A.W. Bennett at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1949-52. B.A. (Hons.) in English, l952.
Taught English in Helsinki, Finland as Lektor at the University of Helsinki and at the Swedish College of Economics, 1952-54. Instructor at Columbia College, New York City, 1955-59, teaching medieval literature. Received Ph.D. from Columbia for dissertation on “Landscape and Dialogue in Medieval Allegory,” l96l.
After a year teaching English as Instructor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire he became Assistant Professor at Berkeley, California. During the “Berkeley Revolution” initiated new teaching programs based on the Oxford tutorial system, including organizing experimental summer tutorial colleges in 1967 and 1968. Also spent time negotiating between radical students and various Berkeley administrations. Gained a University of California Award for Excellence in Teaching (1964), an Armstrong Certificate of Merit for a dramatic adaptation of the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a radio play (l966), and wrote a book The Visionary Landscape: A Study in Medieval Allegory, published by Arnold (London) and McGill University Press in l97l.
Appointed Associate Professor of English at McGill University in September, l968. Organized and directed McGill Experimental Summer College, a further adaptation of Oxford teaching methods to a North American campus, in l969. In l970-7l, directed a project in cooperation with faculty and graduate students from McGill and the Universite de Montreal to produce a Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Montreal.
From 1964 developed oral methods of teaching the poetry of Chaucer and other medieval poets. With the collaboration of faculty and graduate students at Berkeley and McGill created dramatic and narrative Middle English versions of medieval poetry and plays on audio tape, so students can listen to oral readings of the works as they study. Set up the “Golden Clarion” organization to distribute copies of the thirty tapes created by faculty and students at various times. The most extensive collection of such recordings, they are used in over fifty North American campuses and public libraries.
Have undertaken field trips to a considerable range of European sites to study and photograph medieval and Renaissance symbolic iconography in the visual arts, and have formed a collection of some 5000 cataloged slides of major and lesser allegorical monuments, for teaching and research purposes.
Currently retired and living in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and completing revisions to “Shapes of Chaos” which traces major motifs concerning the heroic quest from their sources in ancient myth to allegorical and post-allegorical literature. The work is the subject of a letter of interest from Basil Blackwell.
Dr. Piehler has also developed plans for “The Atlantis Project” as a revised and renewed tutorial college, not only for its proven pedagogic efficiency, but for its potential as a less expensive alternative to college teaching than the prevailing lecture-based system. (An eight-page amplification of the above, listing publications, lectures, fellowships and other distinctions, as well as a brochure on the current TV project, and the Atlantis tutorial system, is available on request.)