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This 150 -page book, published in 1979, has excited great interest all over the world. In Italy alone it has gone through 45 editions and sold over a million copies. Its success depends on the fact of its being the first study on falling in love since Stendhal's famous De l'amour of 1832. For Alberoni falling in love is of the same nature as religious or political conversion. We fall in love when our attempts to save previous relationships have failed, and we are ready to change. At this point a rapid destructuring-restructuring process takes place within us, called nascent state. The previous relationship disintegrates and we rebuild our lives and futures around the loved person. In the nascent state the individual acquires the ability to fuse with someone else and create a new, highly supportive collectivity. Hence the famous definition: falling in love is the nascent state of a collective movement made up of just two persons.

Love is always revelation and risk. In order to find out if she has really fallen in love, the subject submits to some (truth) tests and, to find out if that love is returned, subjects the potential object of it to tests of reciprocity. This delicate process can lead to misunderstandings or even destroy the nascent state altogether.

When one falls in love the beloved is transfigured, because each partner is the charismatic leader of the other.At the same time, the fusion process is always balanced by a desire for self-assertion.This conflict lends a dramatic, passionate character to the love process. If the two persons in love fail to create a common project, or if their individual projects are too dissimilar, too incompatible, the love process may founder.

The falling-in-love phenomenon is identical in adolescent and adult, male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, because the structure of the nascent state never changes.

The book, in contrast with the views found in psychoanalysis, does not consider falling in love as regressive. On the contrary, it roots it in a desire for the future, for change, and considers it fundamental to the formation of the loving couple. Written in precise yet poetic language, it is a fundamental work for scholars and held dear by people in love.

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