Author Biography

Valerie Billing is Associate Professor of English at Central College, where she teaches courses in medieval and early modern literature, world literature, and gender and sexuality studies. Other publications have appeared in Renaissance Drama and the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and she is currently at work on a monograph on the erotics of size in early modern drama and poetry.


This article summarizes my approach to teaching Cavendish’s play The Convent of Pleasure in my course “LGBTQ+ Literature and Culture,” which I teach at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. I demonstrate how I teach the play with excerpts from literary scholarship in queer theory in order to help students sharpen their close reading skills, teach scholarly engagement, and deepen students’ understanding of early modern and Restoration comedy and the history of sexuality.


Duchess of Newcastle, Restoration Comedy, LGBTQIA+ Literature, queer theory, trans theory