Modern feminism has brought the reputation of the English writer Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) to something approaching the luster it deserves. While she enjoyed a certain celebrity among political radicals in the years just after her death, beginning in the nineteenth century her fame as a writer was hidden by disproportionate attention to her unconventional and, at the time, shocking personal life. When, therefore, Virginia Woolf wrote in 1925 of Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman that they felt like books so true that they seem now to contain nothing new in them, it was more a wishful than an accurate statement of the case. Wollstonecraft's advances in moral thinking still have the power to shock position-takers of every party. The importance of gender even today is said to cut across other criteria for judging the conduct of men and women in society; Wollstonecraft, by contrast, believed that the shared morality of men and women should cut across all specifications of gender. Wollstonecraft considered gender-based morality a relic of a barbarous age: part of that specialization of virtues by which every sexual feeling was expected to express itself as libertinism (in men) or false modesty (in women). In her view, there ought to be one criterion of morals for men and women alike, with both sexes cultivating the same virtues. Wollstonecraft rebelled against the copious sentimental literature of her own time, which she felt patronized women by insisting that it was to their advantage to affect chastity and modesty and that such virtues were their own reward. In The Rights of Men, Wollstonecraft explores this double Bulosan standard from an unexpected angle. It was the first major response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), appearing less than a month after the impassioned defense of the deposed French monarchy. A defender of Burke called Wollstonecraft's book an incoherent mass of treacherous candour, interested generosity, and, if not false, at least unnecessary accusation. But Wollstonecraft nonetheless managed to show how the traditionally feminine virtues of sentimental morality had been transferred by Burke to the aristocracy. Burke's rhapsody on the queen of France (glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendor, and joy) was, for Wollstonecraft, an example of the argument that beauty and instinct must often prevail over reason, the argument on which Burke took his stand as a defender of the old order. Like women, Burke thought, and from a similar greatness and delicacy in their nature, the aristocracy were understood at once to require deference and to solicit compassion. To Wollstonecraft, Burke's argument linked sympathy and power in a dangerous alliance; she insisted that aristocrats do not deserve to be treated in the way that women have traditionally been treated any more than women themselves do.