College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Gastle was born and raised just outside of Buffalo, NY where he attended SUNY Buffalo for his BA in English before moving to Delaware for his MA and PhD in English at the University of Delaware. Originally interested in business law and contract negotiations, when he took his first Chaucer course the “scales fell from his eyes” (like Saul on the road to Damascus), and he fell in love with medieval literature. <br><br><p>You may find in his office a dented and salvaged disco ball, Tolkien posters, stained glass windows, pictures of him trying to be a better whitewater kayaker, a complete set of Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp paperbacks from the 60s, medieval manuscript pages, nostalgic images of hot rods he used to own, a fourteenth-century groat, and of course lots and lots of books on medieval literature history, and culture. <br><br><p>He is the recipient of WCU's University Scholar Award (2018), the John Hurt Fisher Award from the John Gower Society (2020), and WCU's Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (2022).<br><br><p>Dr. Gastle currently lives in Cullowhee, NC with his wife, Dr. Catherine Carter (a poet English Education faculty member) along with their dog, cat, and bees (except for his wife, specific number of each changes regularly).
Dr. Gastle teaches a wide range of classes including medieval literature (like Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, <i>Sir Gawain and the Green Knight</i>, and others) at the graduate and undergraduate levels, graduate research methods classes, liberal studies literature classes on medieval and classical literature, professional writing classes (such as technical writing and writing for careers), and required freshman/sophomore writing classes.
Dr. Gastle’s research focuses primarily upon later medieval literature, especially on Geoffrey Chaucer and his friend and fellow poet John Gower. His scholarship investigates the language of business in medieval literature, in particular how the language of emerging proto-capitalist and market economies, and the language of the attendant merchant classes, affected how fourteenth- and fifteenth-century writers wrote about issues such as personal identity, power, relationships, gender, and sexuality.