The purpose of this presentation is to understand the influence that the moral and political works of Spanish Jesuit philosopher Baltasar Gracián had on women's literary production, in XVIIth century Europe. This influence will be confronted with his paradoxical representation of the ideal of the masculine hero, which, in works such as El Criticón and El Discreto, is depicted in a position of power which excluded the possibility of feminine virtue beforehand. The main question to be discussed is to which extent these contradictions fascinated educated woman readers throughout Europe, and influenced their own literary production, exemplified by the case study of a late-XVIIth century French woman writer: Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy (1651-1705). Her short stories were clearly influenced by Gracián, but expressed a distinct originality derived from a combination of the Spanish author's style of political aphorisms with a fantastic narrative that often combined human and animal characters. This will lead us to reflect, not only of the European reception of Gracian's writings, but also of the use for their moral and political contents in a peculiar form of feminine literary and political culture, which, in certain countries, reached court politics, and even the highest levels of government.