The Adolescent Condition in Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders


In The Woodlanders, Hardy examines the intersections between adolescence as scientific fact and adolescence as utilitarian economic construction. Hardy posits that the emergence of adolescence as a social category provides an opportunity for further, excessive control of young women in a patriarchal society when science is taken at its word, but, paradoxically, also opens up a space for a new kind of freedom and rebellion when the adolescent condition of nineteenth-century scientific theorists is seized for the very subversive qualities which the Victorians oppose.