Thomas Newcombe

In his poem, Bibliotheca (1712), Thomas Newcombe includes a catalogue of women poets of the preceding age, a list which includes a "Phillips, who in Verse her Passion wrote." Newcombe's allusion could not refer to the demure Katherine Philips, as Roger Lund suggested (Restoration, Fall, 1989; see my correction, Scriblerian, Autumn, 1990: 87-8), but rather to the forceful lyrics of Ephelia, who, evidently, was associated at this time with the "poet Joan" (Joan Phillips) of Behn's circle. Newcombe's allusion is valuable, as it illustrates the continuity of a developing link in the eighteenth-century between the Ephelia poet and Behn's "poet Joan" -- the Joan Phillips whom I suggest 'Mall' Villiers invented as a cover for her literary life outside the constricting confines of the Court and her ducal status.