Dale B. Billingsley is a native of Oklahoma. He received his B.A. magna cum laude in English and history from Texas Christian University (1972), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was a Rotary International Fellow at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (1972-73) and pursued his graduate studies in Renaissance literature at Yale University, where he earned the M.A. (1974), M.Phil. (1975), and Ph.D. (1977). His dissertation, "Pageants and the Vision of Order in Spenser's Poetry," written under the direction of A. B. Giamatti, examines the continental pageant tradition as a model for the ecphrastic passages in The Faerie Queene and the minor poems of Edmund Spenser.
Since coming to the University of Louisville in 1978, he has taught English undergraduate courses in freshman and advanced composition as well as British literature; humanities courses in classical and Renaissance literature and culture as well as theory of the arts; university honors seminars on "science in literature" and history of print; senior honors English seminars; and graduate courses in bibliography and research methods and on Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton and cognitive stylistics.
He and his spouse Lin Blackwell Billingsley, who retired in 2008 as administrative assistant in the Women's Studies Program, have four children, all of whom attended the University of Louisville, and five grandchildren.