NEW ORLEANS, LA, November 05, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Claude Joseph Summers with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Summers celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
A native of Galvez, Louisiana, Claude Summers was born in 1944, the third child of Burg Martin Summers and Theo Coy Causey. He was educated in the public schools of Ascension Parish, graduating from Gonzales High School in 1962. He has long credited two teachers at Gonzales High School--Diana Sevario Welch and Sherry Rushing--for inspiring his interest in academic achievement.
In 1966, he received his B.A. from Louisiana State University, where he majored in English Literature and served as editor of Delta, the undergraduate literary journal. At LSU, he formed a romantic relationship with Ted-Larry Pebworth, with whom he would later collaborate on numerous scholarly articles and books. They married in 2013 on the fiftieth anniversary of their relationship.
As a senior at LSU, Summers was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, which enabled him to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago.
Summers attended the University of Chicago from 1966 to 1970. At Chicago, he earned his A.M. in 1967 and his Ph.D. in 1970. His doctoral work was also supported by a John Danforth Teaching Fellowship and a University of Chicago Dissertation Fellowship. His dissertation, later published as Christopher Marlowe and the Politics of Power (1974), was directed by David Bevington and Arthur Heiserman. It was one of the first books on Marlowe to focus on homosexuality as a major theme in Marlowe's plays without adopting a condemnatory or moralistic tone.
In 1970, Dr. Summers accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor of English at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he was to teach for more than 30 years. He was promoted to Associate Professor of English with tenure in 1973, and to Professor of English in 1977.
Ted-Larry Pebworth joined Summers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1971, and together they established the Dearborn campus as a center of Renaissance and seventeenth-century English studies, especially through their biennial Renaissance conferences, which from 1974 until 2000 attracted leading scholars in the field. The series yielded thirteen major collections of essays, most edited by Summers and Pebworth.
In addition to their work together organizing the conference series and editing the collections of essays from them, Summers and Pebworth also collaborated on a number of significant essays on such seventeenth-century figures as John Donne and Henry Vaughan, as well as an edition of the poems of Owen Felltham (1973) and a monograph on Ben Jonson (1979; revised 1999).
Summers's individually authored publications early in his career focused on a wide range of Renaissance and seventeenth-century figures, including Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Robert Herrick, John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and John Milton, among others; but he soon expanded his range of interests to include modern English and American literature, including especially LGBT literature.
A founding member of the Modern Language Association's gay and lesbian caucus, Summers helped lead the gay studies movement to maturity within the academy.
Summers's varied work in gay studies includes essays on such figures as W.H. Auden, Gore Vidal, Willa Cather, Mary Renault, Richard Howard, Christopher Marlowe, Richard Barnfield, and William Shakespeare, and on topics relating to Renaissance constructions of homosexuality; books on Christopher Isherwood (1979) and E.M. Forster (1983), a collection of essays on Homosexuality in Renaissance and Enlightenment England: Literary Representations in Historical Context (1992), and his study of the fictional representation of male homosexuals by gay men and lesbians, Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall (1992).
Perhaps his most ambitious work is The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage: A Reader's Companion to the Writers and Their Works from Antiquity to the Present (1995; rev. ed., 2002), which provides overviews of the gay and lesbian presence in a variety of literatures and historical periods; in-depth critical essays on gay and lesbian authors in world literature; and coverage of topics and figures important in appreciating the rich and varied gay and lesbian literary traditions.
At the heart of Summers' critical and historical publications--whether on seventeenth-century poetry or on modern gay fiction--is a concern with the intersection of literature and politics, broadly construed. His work evinces a sensitivity to the reciprocal relationship of literature and socio-political issues. That is, he is conscious that literature is influenced by socio-political concerns, and also that it frequently helps shape the political and social issues to which it responds. Summers is always careful not to reduce literature to sociological documents. He places literary works in various sociopolitical contexts, but also helps explicate them as aesthetic creations.
At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Summers was honored in a variety of ways. Recognized as a devoted teacher, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award; his scholarship was honored by the Faculty Distinguished Research Award; and he received the Michigan Association of Governing Boards' designation as "A Distinguished Faculty Member." In 1989, In recognition of their collaborative scholarship, Summers and Pebworth were jointly awarded the campus's highest academic honor, the William E. Stirton Professorship.
Among Summers's other academic honors include the Crompton-Noll Award in Gay Studies; the Distinguished Publication award of the John Donne Society; the recognition of several of his books as "Outstanding Academic Books" by the American Library Association; and the Lambda Literary Award for The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage.
In 1998, Ted Pebworth retired from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Summers planned to continue teaching at Dearborn until reaching his normal retirement age of 65 in 2009; but when the couple bought a condominium in New Orleans, they decided to spend their retirement there, and they realized that as long as Summers continued teaching in Dearborn, they would have Michigan winters and Louisiana summers. Hence, Dr. Summers decided to retire earlier than he had originally planned.
Upon his retirement from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2002, Summers was named Professor of English Emeritus and William E. Stirton Professor in the Humanities Emeritus.
Another factor in Dr. Summers' decision to retire earlier from the University of Michigan-Dearborn than he had originally planned was that he had been approached by businessman Andrew "Wik" Wikholm to help him create an online encyclopedia.
Wikholm had recognized that the organization of The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage would facilitate the use of hyperlinks in the creation of a heavily cross-referenced and inter-related on-line reference work. Wikholm purchased the electronic rights to The Gay and Lesbian Heritage and asked Summers to collaborate with him in creating an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender culture. Wikholm would serve as publisher of the encyclopedia and Summers would serve as General Editor.
Glbtq.com was launched in 2003 and was regularly updated until its closure in 2015. It became the world's largest encyclopedia of its kind. More than 350 scholars contributed almost 2000 entries, including biographies, surveys, and overviews. When it was archived in 2015, the encyclopedia contained more than 2.2 million words. The entries, all signed and referenced, are categorized into three departments: Arts, Literature, and History and Social Sciences.
The site also included a discussion board and a special features section that presented interviews, essays, slideshows, and spotlights. In addition, Summers frequently blogged about LGBT issues in the news, especially including the progress of the movement for marriage equality.
Glbtq.com was named one of the "Best Free Reference Web Sites" by the American Library Association and, in association with Cleis Press, produced three print volumes: The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts (2004); The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance, & Musical Theater (2004); and The Queer Encyclopedia of Film & Television (2005), each of which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. In 2008, Summers received a Monette-Horwitz Award for combatting homophobia through his work on Glbtq.com.
The website closed on August 1, 2015 because of the collapse of the online advertising business model that had supported it. However, its contents have been archived at glbtqarchive.com and thus remains an important resource for the study of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer culture.
In 2016, Summers began writing a weekly column for the online news site, The New Civil Rights Movement. Among the topics he wrote about were the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the homophbia of essayist Joseph Epstein, the crucial significance of California's Proposition 8, the struggle to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and America's openly gay ambassadors. However, in 2017, after Pebworth suffered a severe fall, Summers gave up writing the column in order to care for his husband.
Dr. Summers continues to serve as Executive Editor of Harrington Park Press, a specialized scholarly book publisher devoted to emerging topics in LGBTQ diversity, equality, and inclusivity.
To remain aware of trends in the field, Dr. Summers maintains affiliation with the Modern Language Association and the John Donne Society of America.
Summers and Pebworth have received recognition for their philanthropy in support of education and gay rights. They hold membership in the University of Chicago's Phoenix Society; Lambda Legal's Liberty Circle; and the Human Rights Campaign's Federal Society.
Dr. Summers has been featured in the 54th and 55th editions of Who's Who in America.
About Marquis Who's Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America®, Who's Who in the World®, Who's Who in American Law®, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who's Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who's Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.
# # #