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First Love

The Adolescent's Experience of Amour

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Wendy Austin

What is the adolescent's experience of amorous love? In seeking an answer to this question, Wendy Austin gathered descriptions from individuals who were in love as teenagers, explored literary texts, movies, and songs, and reflected on personal experience. To understand the influences that shape her own pre-understandings of love and that of her society, Austin examined the psychological research, reviewed the explanatory theories of scholars on love and revisited the great love stories that have survived across time to reveal four major descriptive themes – awakening, falling, possessing, and becoming. Adolescence has been called a time of rebirth; in considering the sentimental education of adolescents, Wendy Austin considers ways in which adults may attend this rebirth in a helpful way.