CODA: WORK-IN-PROGRESS & PROJECT CLOSURE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Colleagues have encouraged me to assemble a first biography of Lady Mary Villiers. While such a project certainly beckons, the lack of primary materials on such a clandestine personality is likely to compromise such a project. I may, however, produce something along the lines of a first biographical treatment of this fascinating creature, which will at least provide a foundation for subsequent, longer studies, as more information becomes available. In the fullness of time, more information will, indeed, surface.
I also would like to assemble an affordably-priced, modern-spelling paperback edition of Ephelia's collected writings, for classroom use, with a critical essay, illustrations, and apparatus. Though many of her poems are available in recent anthologies edited by Joyce Fullard, Angeline Goreau, Germaine Greer, and Katharine Rogers and William McCarthy, among others, the selections in these volumes do not represent her best work, such as her ventrilloquized "Lamentation" to Lord Mulgrave and her political broadsides to the Stuarts. Now that my research has uncovered the essential contexts of many of her poems, such a project seems timely.
And, finally, inspired by recent work on early-modern reading practices by Sasha Roberts of the University of Kent, Canterbury, I would like to prepare an informed scholarly analysis of Ephelia's poetry. Who, for example, was reading her verse, and how was her poetry being read? Who were her poetic models? As a poet already in her fourth decade in 1662, how did she address the problematics of poetic production and reception in the youth culture of the second Caroline court? I also would like to bring fresh attention, in future work, to Ephelia's feminism, her bold political verse to the Stuarts, her love-poems, and her energetic moral critiques of Stuart court culture.
It is my hope that these final contributions will excite further work on "Ephelia" in the next generation of scholars, work which will keep Ephelia alive throughout this new millennium.
After these goals are achieved, I look forward to completing my multimedia project on Stuart women writers and patronesses, long interrupted by my work on the Villiers case. 'Tis then on to pre-Famine Irish women writers! This is a field in which I already have begun to publish, in extended profiles of Mary Tighe, Eibhlin Ni Chonnaill (Eileen O'Connell), and Mary Leadbeater, in the Schlueters' Encyclopedia of British Women Writers (second edition, 1998) and in Maureen Murphy's upcoming collection, Irish Literatures: Old & New Worlds (Westport, CT.: Greenwood Publishers, [c. 2001]).