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First Love

The Adolescent's Experience of Amour


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.

«This book is engaging, respectful, and well-written. It provides the reader with perceptive, dignified, and thoughtful insights into the mystery of adolescent love. I recommend it to everyone who believes in the vitality of youth, the power of the romantic pulse, and the union of two in young love.» (John J. Mitchell, Professor of Education, Okanagan University College, British Columbia; Author of ‘The Mental and Emotional Life of Teenagers’)
«‘First Love’ is a book of greatest magnitude about a subject that is of greatest magnitude to all humans. This scholarly portal into the abiding concern of the significance of adoration, affection, and devotion in young people's lives opens up the question of the meaning of love relations for people of all ages... Love, that four-letter word, represents a subject that is still being shunned by serious scholars in the social and human sciences. But in this rich, deep, and eloquent exploration into the manifold theories and narrative perspectives on adolescent love, Wendy Austin demonstrates the timeliness and relevance for the study of love in people young and old. Her research is both learned and passionate. She spell-binds her readers with insights, reminiscences, and portrayals that cannot help but prompt us to reflect on the formative experiences in our own lives.» (Max van Manen, Author of ‘Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy’)