Valerie Billing is Assistant Professor of English at Central College, where she teaches courses in Shakespeare, medieval and early modern English literature, world literature, LGBTQ+ literature, and disability literature. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Early Modern English Literature from the University of California, Davis. Valerie’s current research project investigates the erotics of size in a range of early modern drama, poetry, prose, and visual art.


Ph.D. English, University of California, Davis

M.A. English, University of California, Daivs

B.A. English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


“Sexuality and Queerness on the Early Modern Stage.” A New Companion to Renaissance Drama, edited by Thomas Hopper and Arthur Kinney, Blackwell, 2017, pp. 443-455.

“The Queer Language of Size in Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Queer Shakespeare: Desire and Sexuality, edited by Goran Stanivukovic, Bloomsbury, 2017, pp. 107-122.

“The Queer Erotics of Size in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis.” Shakespeare Studies, vol. XLV, 2017, pp. 131-136.

“Female Spectators and the Erotics of the Diminutive in Epicoene and The Knight of the Burning Pestle.” Renaissance Drama, vol. 42, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-28.

“Treble Marriage: Margaret Cavendish, William Newcastle, and Collaborative Authorship.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, 2011, pp. 94-122.

“Antichrists, Pope Lovers, and Atheists: The Politics of Elizabeth I’s Christian Prayers and Meditations.” The Image of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Spain, edited by Esther Fernández Rodríguez and Eduardo Olid Guerrero, University of Nebraska Press. (Forthcoming)

Blog Posts


Valerie is currently at work on a book manuscript entitled “Size Matters: The Erotics of Stature in Early Modern English Literature and Culture.” This project argues that literary depictions of physical size are central to understanding early modern erotics, especially in relation to gender, social status, and age. Size, frequently represented as fluid and performable, functions as a category that both male and female figures manipulate in order to meet various sexual, social, and artistic ends. In particular, size provides a productive lens through which to investigate the queer erotics of relations between larger women and smaller men.


Modern Language Association

Shakespeare Association of America

Society for the Study of Early Modern Women

Renaissance Society of America

Valerie Billing

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