Like earlier seventeenth-century erotica such as Michel Millot’s L’École des Filles (1655; translated as The School of Venus (1680)) and Nicolas Chorier’s Satyra Sotadica (1660; translated as A Dialogue Between a Married Lady and a Maid (1740) and as The Dialogues of Luisa Sigea (1890)), Venus in the Cloister is a whore dialogue – a popular genre in the early modern period representing conversations between a sexually experienced older woman and a maiden – and a vehicle for disseminating radical ideas about sex and religion. It comprises a series of conversations in which a sexually experienced nun, Sister Angelica, seduces a younger, inexperienced nun, Sister Agnes, and instructs her in sexual and philosophical matters. The latter’s perspective on sex and religion is gradually transformed and ostensibly liberated. Representations of sex and desire are mobilised to satirise repressive aspects of religious life and promote a philosophy of sexual experimentation and sexual pleasure.
This Birchgrove Press edition of Venus in the Cloister is based on Curll’s 1725 edition.