Carol Blessing, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Literature and Women's Studies

Dr. Carol Blessing has taught literature, theory, and writing at the university level for 30 years and has traveled extensively and presented papers at academic conferences in Prague, Berlin, London, Manchester, Madeley, Hull, and Stratford, UK, as well as throughout the U.S. Devoting her academic life to British literature and history, Blessing's interests include Julian of Norwich, English Queens Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights William Shakespeare and John Webster, as well as 17th century religious poets George Herbert and John Milton. One of her lifelong goals is deepening awareness about women in letters and the church, focusing on women writers from the middle ages and early modern eras to contemporary Liberian poet Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, women and the law in literature, and women preachers in early Methodist history. She has co-led two student trips to the British Isles and co-led a literature in Greece summer school session summer 2017. She writes poetry, serves as scripture reader at church, makes jewelry, plays the guitar, loves to sing, and enjoys walking and biking around Mission Bay. There is a rumor that she likes to perform original humorous raps and songs in classes. She shares her life with her best friend and spouse of 39 years; her grown son, who is a graduate of PLNU; and a little long-haired dachshund named Toffee who runs the household.


  • Ph.D., English, University of California, Riverside
  • M.A., English, California State University, Los Angeles
  • B.A., English, Messiah College

Courses Taught

  • Literary Theory and Scholarship – LIT 495
  • Shakespeare – LIT 461
  • Seventeenth-Century British Literature – LIT 445
  • Medieval Literature –  LIT 444
  • Women Writers – LIT 353
  • British Writers I – LIT 254
  • Literature and Culture – LIT 200

Experience in Field

  • Ranked professor at Point Loma Nazarene University since 1993
  • Visiting Professor at Biola University, 1991 – 1993
  • Teaching Assistant, University of California, Riverside, 1986 – 1991
  • Technical Editor, Hughes Aircraft Corporation, 1983 – 1984
  • Methods and Procedures Analyst and Publications Coordinator, Transamerica Insurance, 1980 – 1982

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Reader at the Huntington Library, San Marino since 1985
  • Chair of Early Modern Sessions for the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
  • Past service on committees at Mira Mesa High School
  • Editing and consulting textbook work
  • Peer article reviewer and book reviewer for several early modern journals
  • Contributor of many essays to reference books: literary, historical, women's studies

Awards and Honors

  • Graduate awards/fellowships in the master's and doctoral programs, including a travel stipend to the British Library for dissertation research
  • Numerous Wesleyan fellowships and scholar awards from PLNU's Wesleyan Center
  • Three visiting fellowships at the Nazarene Theological College, Manchester, UK
  • Several research and professional grants through PLNU

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • “Disappearing Women: The Gendered Politics of Publication of Mary Fletcher’s Auto/Biography” for Religion in Britain, 1688-1900, John Ryland, Manchester, UK, to be published 2021.  

  • “It shall teach all Ladies the right path to rectifie their issue”: Bastardy Law in John Webster’s The Devil’s Law-Case, American Notes and Queries: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, 31:3, 161-167, 2018.

  • Edited critical edition of British feminist poet Aemilia Lanyer’s 1611 Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum for the Broadview Anthology of British Literature on-line resources, Fall 2016.

  • “'Nincompoops like Thee’: W.D. Snodgrass as the Wise Fool”—PAMLA Conference, San Diego November 2019.

  • “Disappearing Women: The Gendered Politics of Publication of Mary Fletcher’s Auto/Biography.” Invited paper presentation for the American Academy of Religion Conference, Denver, November 2018.

  • “Webster the Hoarder: Signifying the Feminine in The Duchess of Malfi.” Presented at the Renaissance Society of Southern California Conference, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, March 2018.

  • "Hal's Confessions." Paper presentation in the Shakespeare's Religious Languages Panel--International Shakespeare Congress, Stratford, England, July, 2016
  • “George Herbert’s ‘Exceeding Exact’ Country Parson and its Influence on Methodism.” Paper presented at the Renaissance Society of Southern California Conference, June 5, 2015.
  • “In Search of Spiritual Mothers.” Book chapter in Results May Vary: Christian Women Reflect on Post-College Life, ed. Linda Beail and Sylvia Cortez Masyuk, Wipf and Stock, 2013.
  • “‘Oh, That the Mantle May Rest on Me!’ The Ministry of Mary Tooth.” Book chapter in Religion, Gender, and Industry: Exploring Church and Methodism in a Local Setting, ed. Geordan Hammond and Peter S. Forsaith, Wipf and Stock, 2011.
  • Volume Editor and writer of backgrounds and headnotes. Bloom’s Classic Critical Views: John Milton, Facts on File Infobase Publishing, October 2010.
  • “‘But Julian of Norwich said Jesus was a Girl!’: Teaching the Mystics at a Conservative Protestant University.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, Vol. 17, Issue 1, Spring 2010.
  • “Exile and Maternal Loss in the Poems of Patricia Jabbeh Wesley.” Book chapter in Exile and the Narrative/Poetic Imagination, ed. Agnieszka Gutthy, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010.
  • “Gilbert and Gubar’s Daughters: The Madwoman in the Attic’s Spectre in Milton Studies.” Book chapter in The Madwoman in the Attic After Thirty Years, ed. Annette Federico, University of Missouri Press, 2009.
  • “The Trials of Mary Stuart: Anxious Circulations in John Webster’s Drama.” Book chapter in Justice, Women, and Power in English Renaissance Drama, ed. Emily Detmer-Goebel and Andrew Majeske, Farleigh Dickinson Press, 2009.
  • “‘Most Blessed Daughters of Jerusalem’: Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judeorum and Elizabethan and Jacobean Bible Commentary. ” Ben Jonson Journal, Vol. 15, no. 2, Winter 2008.
  • “Elizabeth I as Deborah the Judge: Exceptional Women of Power.” Book chapter in Goddesses and Queens, ed. Lisa Hopkins and Annaliese Connolly, University of Manchester Press, 2007.
  • “Speaking Out: Feminist Theology and Women’s Proclamation in the Wesleyan Tradition.” Chapter co-written with Lisa Bernal in Being Feminist, Being Christian ed. Bettina Pedersen and Allyson Jule, Palgrave Press, 2006.