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The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
Background Information
Author Emilie Autumn
Released 2009
Language English
Genre Autobiography, Psychological Thriller
Pages 264
Website http://www.asylumemporium.com
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls is an autobiographical phsychological thriller written by Emilie Autumn. It was officially released in late 2009 as a companion to the Asylum concert tours in Europe, Australia, and North America. The book is a hard-cover, fully illustrated account by Autumn of her time in a Los Angeles psych ward that includes the story of a Victorian-England girl, referred to as "Emily-with-a-y" within the story, that Autumn had revealed to her during her stay.

The book is separated into two parts: The "Hospital Entries," "Asylum Letters," and Emilie's transcribed and publically printed personal diary entries. The "Hosptial Entries" are Autumn's records of her time in the psych ward and the "Asylum Letters" contain the tale of Emily-with-a-y.

During an interview with Mulatschag, Emilie states, "[...] which now my big project after this is the full on theatrical musical production of my book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls [...] and that is being turned into by me—by us, a whole broadway style theatrical production: 3 hours long, a cast of 40 people. With the aim to debut that in 2014. Starting --but going worldwide-- starting on London's West End theater district. " She later confirms that she will be playing both roles of Modern Emilie and Victorian Emily, as well as a later movie which will spawn from the musical. When asked in an interview with Metal Blast if her 2012 Fight Like a Girl tour was a preview to the upcoming musical, Emilie confirmed this to be true and said "[...] [The tour] was about me, with the help of my girls on stage, to kind of set the tone and the atmosphere to what all of this crazy asylum world is about, this kind of unique genre-bending musical style and me having a unique perspective of life (at least I’d like to think that). Now that this stage has been set, it’s all about telling a story, which has become more important even than, as crazy as it may seem, the music. [...]"

The book remains a controversail subject among Autumn's fans, both due to the content matter, Autumn's expressed opinions in the text, and unclear timelines as to when the events happened. Autumn's newest album, Fight Like A Girl, is a musical companion to the novel. 

Please note that from this point forward this article contains SPOILERS.

PlotEdit

The book begins with Emilie's attempted suicide. Her death is prevented by her roommate, who forced her to vomit the sleeping pills she had been attempting to overdose with by pouring hydrogen peroxide down her throat. She is not immediately sent to seek psychiatric help. Instead, she shares with her therapist the events that transpired; legally obligated to lead her to check herself in for a 72-hour sucicide watch and psychiatric evalutation, her therapist refuses to refill her perscription for her medication and warns her he will call an ambulance to take her to the hospital if she reports to his office for her appointment. Emilie finds herself with not choice but to report for the 72-hour hold.

Due to an overcrowded psychiatric ward, Emilie is detained for a number of days in the waiting room, during which she is left only with her hospital gown and striped stockings. She is allowed little more than sleeping, eating poor hospital food, and going to the bathroom with an attendant. She talks a nurse into allowing her one of her books and a crayon, in which she dictates her life in the margins of the pages.

She is eventually transferred to a hospital ward reserved for the long-time patients as there is no room for her in the short-term wards. There she is allowed a spiral bound notebook and a pen she must check in and out of the nurse's station every morning and night. The doctors suspect she has an eating disorder and detain her for much longer than her expected 3 days. 

After a time she begins to find scraps of paper shoved into her spiral-bound notebook. These are the "Asylum Letters" that contain the account of a Victorian-English girl by the name "Emily" (Emilie refers to her as Emily-with-a-y for clarification), who has been incarcerated in an insane asylum, despite not actually being insane.

CharactersEdit

Hospital PatientsEdit

  • Emilie Autumn
  • Dr. Sharpe
  • J___ :Unnamed friend from Emilie's diaries.
  • S___: Unnamed significant other of Emilie's.
  • Chloe: Befriends Emilie briefly; sent for ETC treatment at 4 o'clock in the morning.
  • Kara: First encountered in the waiting area prior to the ward; recovering drug addict.
  • Violet: Fellow patient; victim of abuse.

Asylum InmatesEdit

Asylum Doctors and StaffEdit

Other Victorian CharactersEdit

ReleaseEdit

When The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls became a work in progress is unclear, but as early as 2007 Autumn's concert performances had began to take shape around the contents within the book. The release of Autumn's 4 o'Clock EP acted as the very first of many promotions for the book, as it contained the first audio excerpt of the story. The book was in continuous development during Autumn's time with Trisol Records.

In 2008, the book was delayed due to technical problems. Emilie somehow lost a substantial part of her book's files.[1][2] 

At the start of Emilie's 2009 tour, The Key, which took place shortly after she left Trisol Records, Autumn announced a VIP package for her shows. It included:

  • The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, autographed
  • A meet and greet, photograph, and autograph opportunity
  • A ticket to the show and front of the line access
  • An "Opheliac" poster [Second leg of the tour only, additional $10 on VIP price]

However, due to printing problems, the VIP holders could not have the books delivered to them at the concer. It was instead promised that Autumn would autograph them when they arrived at her home and that she would ship them out herself. It was assumed that the VIP holders would still get their books before their public release at the end of 2009. Unfortunately, due to poor management on Autumn's and her management's behalf, the books for the VIP holders were not sent out until late 2010 and early 2011 (long after the book had gone public). Much to the fans' disappointment and despite EA's claims that she was autographing the books via a Twitter post, the books arrived unsigned. To make up for this, Autumn and her friend, Queen fLee, sent out autographed sticker book plates that the VIP holders could put in their books at a later date.

Book bundle
The book was thrice delayed to fans who preordered the book through Autumn's former webshop (run through her record), The Omega Order. Through a special release package, fans were given a book bundle package, which included the following for a price of $100:
  • The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
  • Opheliac: The Deluxe Edition (& digital download)
  • Emilie Autumn "Opheliac" shirt and tote bag
  • Asylum Recipe Pamphlet
  • Digital audio book excerpts (received via e-mail)

The original date for the book release was on October 23, 2009. Due to printing and distribution problems, this date was pushed back until November 10, 2009. Due to continued problems, the book was then again pushed back to December 15, 2009. When the bundles were first received, the tote bag was printed with a different design than was advertised; many founds this grounds for a return and bought their books separately at a lower price.

The novel has been sold through The Asylum Emporium since its release and had a brief shelf life on the Omega Order's website and the Mamstore.uk website. Because of it's five-pound weight, the book has rarely been sold at the merchandise table on tour.

The first-edition printing was sold from late 2009 to April 2010. This edition, in both of it's two printings, is known to have poor binding after a few read-throughs.

On April 1, 2010, Autumn released an edited second-edition of the book which contained formatting, grammatical, and spelling fixes. This is the edition that is currently for sale.

In 2013, a digital e-book was released. It is an exact copy of the second-edition printing in .pdf format, password protected, at 1/3 of the physical book's price.

Book ReadingsEdit

To promote the book, Autumn did a handful of book readings during 2008 and 2009, which were separate events from her concerts. During The Plague tour in 2008, two book readings were held during Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Germany; during The Gate II concerts, she did three book readings: two in Melweg, Amsterdam, and one in Prinzenbar, Hamburg. 

For the VIP tour ticket packages during The Key, Autumn also did select readings from "The Asylum..." book for her fans before the meet and greet session. This was done during both legs of the tour.

ControversiesEdit

The events, details, and contents within the book tend to incite controversy among the readers, be it about the historical accuracy of Emily-with-a-y's accounts or the simple timeline of when Emilie was admitted for her psych evaluation. Some points of discussion are as follows:

  • Emilie claims her psych stay was after Opheliac's release,[3] but many fans think it was early than that (on the basis that some of the people mentioned in her real-world entries were not involved in her life during that time frame and an account by a friend that it was in early --not late -- 2006).
  • The history provided in the book is often claimed to be inaccurate by some readers, mostly concerning the state of mental health facilities and asylums for women. Some inaccuracies lie in claims that an event or happening would not have taken place in Victorian London, or that it would have at least happened before or after that time period.
  • Emilie's attitude towards the modern mental health care system and the effect that her opinion has on her fans is often a debated topic on such sites as the Wayward Victorian Confessions . Some believe she has over-exaggerated the details of her experiences.

TAFWVG in the ConcertsEdit

Emilie's live concerts since 2007 have been loosely or closely based on The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. Emilie's stage has always been "The Asylum" and her back up performers and singers, The Bloody Crumpets, have always been her fellow inmates. The Crumpets each represent their own character and some are a reference to specific characters within the novel; for instance, Jolie Rouge was depicted on-stage by Vecona from 2007 to 2008, and the inmate Veronica is currently depicted on-stage by Veronica Varlow.

The opening spoken-word segment of the concert are the lines of Dr. Stockill advertising for the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. The newest Fight Like a Girl tours are the performances that are most closely based on the novel, as the songs are the musical companion for the book.

Album and MusicalEdit

Emilie Autumn's 2012 album release, Fight Like A Girl, is a musical companion to her book. With the story of the book and the music of the album combined Autumn intends to formulate and release a musical with colleague Darren Lynn Bousman. It is set to release at the end of 2014, with hopes it will debut in London's West End.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://forum.emilieautumn.com/viewtopic.php?t=6913
  2. http://www.orkus.de/?id=2398&siteId=news
  3. http://emilieautumn.com/blog/2012/06/15/flag-release-date-announced-july-24th-2012-2/

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