"For the Dead cannot Shrive me Now”: Gender Violence, Precariousness and the Neo-Victorian Gothic in Katy Darby’s The Whores’ Asylum (2012)
Keywords:prostitution, gender violence, precariousness, neo-Victorian, The Whore's Asylum
Katy Darby’s neo-Victorian novel The Whores’ Asylum (2012) is set in Oxford in the 1880s. The Gothic plays an important role in the process of re-writing the Victorian period as a mirror of our contemporary societies where depravity and lack of humanity co-exist with modernity and civilisation. The protagonists—Stephen, Edward and Diana—are involved in the process of showing sympathy for the lives and deaths of the destitute and the dispossessed. Under the stance of Judith Butler’s theories of mourning and violence, my analysis has a two-fold aim: to discuss issues of the Victorian past such as venereal disease, prostitution and gender violence in the text, and to question to what extent the novel can be an attempt to hear the voices of the victims of sexual exploitation, giving them restoration and agency. However, my conclusion is that the text does not grant the victims of sexual exploitation real voice or agency.
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