Germaine Greer

Greer's record on the Ephelia subject reveals both fascination and ambivalence. In her anthology, Kissing The Rod (1988), she supports the nineteenth-century tradition of Ephelia as a literary hoax put over by a playful cabal of Restoration wits. Yet, she concedes that Ephelia is a "a far better poet (or group of poets) than she is currently being given credit for" (31). But in 1989, in her edition of some uncollected verse of Aphra Behn, Greer proposes the courtesan Cary Frazier as Ephelia (even though, according to Greer, Frazier both "is and is not 'Ephelia'"). Then, in 1993, in an unsolicited screed-review in TLS of my edition, Poems by Ephelia (1992, 1993), Greer reverts to her original position of 1988, reasserting the old line of Ephelia's fictionalization. Greer again shifts ground in Slip-Shod Sibyls (1994), where she includes "Ephelia" in a class of bonafide woman poets: "We know a good deal about her [the poet Katherine Philips], much more than we know of Aphra Behn or 'Ephelia'" (147).