This book shows how Maria Edgewoth drew on her knowledge of the life of writings of James Harrington in composing that tale. It serves to draw in a more local reference: Florence Court Demesne in County Fermanagh was built around 1750 and originally named for Florence Wrey, wife of Sir John Cole. MARIA EDGEWORTH was born in 1768. Her first novel, Castle Rackrent (1800) was also her first Irish tale. The next such tale was Ennui (1809), after which came The Absentee, which began life as an unstaged play and was then published (in prose) in Tales of Fashionable Life (1812), as were several of her other stories. They were followed in 1817 by the last of her Irish tales, Ormond. Maria Edgeworth died in 1849. Edited with an introduction and notes by Marilyn Butler.