Although his grandfather was born in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, John Bremer was born in England, left school at 14, worked for the Air Ministry and served in the RAF during WW II, while after the war he was engaged in the re-education of the ex-Hitler Youth in Germany, publishing his first article about that work in 1947.
He has graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Leicester. Coming to the US as a Fulbright Fellow in 1951, he also has advanced degrees from St John’s College, Annapolis and earned further qualifications from the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations while teaching at the University of Leicester (1962-66). He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by St Joseph’s College in 2009.
He created the original school-without-walls, the Parkway Program, in Philadelphia in 1968, founded Cambridge College in 1971, and was Killam Senior Fellow at Dalhousie University and then Commissioner of Education in British Columbia, Canada. Described as an ‘action-intellectual’, he has been active in the reform of public education.
He has authored several books, translated into six languages, and more than a hundred articles, most of which relate to the understanding of teaching and learning. Some of his more recent publications are On Plato’s Polity (1984), establishing for the first time the arithmetical/harmonical structure of the Platonic dialogues; Plato and the Founding of the Academy (2002), showing the numerical structure of the Republic in detail; and Plato’s Ion: Philosophy as Performance (2005). A summary article of his research appeared in Hermathena (No.169) of Trinity College Dublin in 2000, Some Arithmetical Patterns in Plato’s ‘Republic’. He has also written on Homer and Shakespeare and his Sonnets. A book on C.S. Lewis and his early poetry (C.S. Lewis, Poetry, and the Great War 1914-1918) was published in July 2012, and his brief biography of Lewis appeared in the award-winning The C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia (1998).
Amongst other interests, John Bremer, is an authority on various aspects of English folklore especially on the ritual dances of Morris and Sword and the Playford dances of the 17th and 18th centuries and traditional dance, having demonstrated and taught these dances for the English Folk Dance and Song Society and for the Country Dance Society of America.
He lives in Ludlow, Vermont, with his marmalade cat Mollie, where he serves on the Board of the Black River Academy Museum. He is currently writing an early history of Ludlow and a translation of and commentary on Plato’s Meno. A new Panathenaic text of Homer’s Iliad is in preparation. He is now director of the Institute of Philosophy in Ludlow, VT.
In the past two years he has lectured or held seminars at Trinity College, Dublin, NUI Cork and NUI Galway. He hopes and expects to return to NUI Galway in the Fall of 2012.