I was filled ... with the memory of Sarah, and the awesome revelation of our matching physical temper. For the first time in my life I had met a woman with that rare sort of genius, effortless, uninvented, almost unconscious. This was the gift she possessed and I had been its recipient. Like Julien Sorel in another context my virtue had been equal to my happiness. This phrase had puzzled me ever since Mother had persuaded me to read the novel ... She had blushed and said, 'It means that he acquitted himself well, and no further explanation was needed. I'm sure you see the beauty of that, Alan.' I had, in fact, although I had thought the novel difficult. Yet along with its crankiness went a sort of excitement, which convinced me that its author had been young and ardent and romantically fulfilled, even though his hero had ended in prison.
Altered States, ch. 6