The national tales of Lady Lady Morgan and Maria Edgeworth go to the heart of the early nineteenth century British "culture wars," and in addition offer important examples of the many ways in which "Irishness" played an important role in the construction of British national cultural identity. Beyond this, the patterns of representation utilized in their Irish novels constitute no less than a new historiography, with which they sought to expand the possibilities of the novel as well as compensate for inadequacies in "factual" history. There has been some excellent critical attention given recently to the historical projects of these women and how their novels contested existing tropes of literary and cultural authority. 1 However, as noted above, at issue for both women in these works is not only the potential of genre but that of gender, and much less attention has been given to the ways in which the national tales of Edgeworth and Owenson (hereafter referred to as Lady Morgan) 2 also contest each other's notions of gender ideals, as well as history. It is therefore important to examine each woman's project individually, rather than assume, as many commentators have, that their aims largely coincided. Ina Ferris has noted that "[Morgan's] national tale [is] a generic innovation [that has] been strangely neglected by feminist literary history." 3 Lady Morgan's vision of women's place in society, so vehemently contested by Edgeworth in her fiction (as well as by some of the most powerful and influential of Lady Morgan's contemporary literary critics), has also been neglected by modern feminist literary historians. A detailed examination of Edgeworth's novel Ormond (1817) can shed further light on the many points at which her philosophy is at odds with Lady Morgan's social and cultural vision.