Renaissance Queen Prepares for Renaissance Conference

Lightmary Flores
FEATURES EDITOR

courtesy of Whittier College

courtesy of Whittier College

Stacking her bookcase with a collection of Renaissance poetry and literary criticisms in the comfort of her own office, Professor of English and Literature Wendy Furman-Adams (pictured right) took out a symbol of one of her proudest achievements. She flipped though its pages until she found her published article in a book with the image of Queen Elizabeth I of England. 

“It’s a big deal to be published by the Renaissance Quarterly,” Furman-Adams said. “To know that you are part of a scholarly association, such as the Renaissance Society of America [RSA], that unites so many scholars far and wide to add research to this journal on virtually any topic about the Renaissance period is really neat.”

Furman-Adams’ passion for Renaissance literature has translated into her many published literary criticisms on Milton’s Paradise Lost and works on Renaissance poets. In past years, she has been invited to RSA worldwide conferences that have taken place in Berlin, Venice and Florence. “RSA conferences are a dream but it is also lovely for local scholars to get together to share their work as well,” Furman-Adams said. “This year, I’ve taken on the role of President of the Renaissance Society of Southern California to ensure that we get a huge turn out and submissions that will inspire us during this year’s conference.”

Filled with scholars from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and San Diego, this regional association has hundreds of members representing different Universities and Professors from the fields of History, Art History, Music History, English Literature, Spanish Literature, Italian and French Literature. 

Furman-Adams entered the association back in 1982 as an officer and was elected President in 1988 when it grew to be the biggest affiliated association of the arts with 400 members. “My goal as president for the second and last time is to get organization to the size it should be,” Furman-Adams said. “So I am sending out a rockin’ mailing list to any scholar who focuses on the Renaissance period.”

To prepare for this year’s Southern California Conference at its yearly meeting in Huntington Library, Furman-Adams will serve as chair in recruiting members, selecting prominent papers to be presented and will help coordinate panelist programs. “The greatest part will not only be selecting and introducing the keynote speaker, but seeing writers and authors whose work I admire very much,” Furman-Adams said. 

This year’s officers include Professors from Chapman, Pepperdine and Cal State Long Beach. The officers are developing a first class website to draw in new members. “I’m just an old lady trying to get technically savvy while still trying to send out personal letters to invite members personally,” Furman-Adams said with a hearty laugh. “We are all just excited and it would be great to get more professors like Jonathan Burton on board and other faculty.”

Furman-Adams’ creative energy is filled each time she reads the RSA and Milton Society journals. Just this last year, she wrote about an illustrator of Paradise Lost and how different artists have portrayed Eve. She also learned from other scholars in the discipline of Art History, specifically about renaissance artists. 

“Just as the Renaissance period opened up the possibility of world exploration which many people were not sure was a good thing, it opened up the world to different cultures and increased literacy, associations like this help us grow as scholars to be able to help you as students,” Furman-Adams said. 

Applications are currently opened to all scholars wanting to submit literary works about any topic within the Renaissance period. Contact Professor Wendy Furman-Adams at: wfurman@whittier.edu for more information.