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The Frozen Deep (Hesperus Classics)

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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  291 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Based on the doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, The Frozen Deep is a dramatic tale of vengeance and self-sacrifice. Exchanging vows of love with sailor Frank Aldersley the night before his departure, Clara Burnham is haunted by the memory of Richard Wardour, and his mistaken belief that they will one day marry. On different ships, the two men have no cause to meet—until ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Hesperus Press (first published 1857)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 668)
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Pete daPixie
'The Frozen Deep' was first published in 1874, originally written as a play by Collins in 1856. A novella of just over one hundred pages, this is a very quick read. No doubt inspired by the Victorian fascination with the lost expedition in search of the North West Passage led by Lord John Franklin in 1845.
A rare foray into nineteenth century fiction for me, Wilkie Collins' tale of vengeance and self sacrifice is played out within an Arctic expedition, lost and ice-locked in the Polar wastes. To
...more
Vlad
While I wasn't expecting a masterpiece on par with The Moonstone, this book failed to meet more modest expectations.

Clara Burnham is a young woman gifted with the Second Sight who envisions trouble for her sailor fiancee Frank on his voyage to find the Northwest Passage, especially from another sailor she rejected, Richard Wardour.

The tone of the book is mostly melodramatic. Clara is in danger of dying from grief when the expedition has been gone for two years and she fears the worst. Character
...more
Ali
I read this enjoyable little novella for Winter in Wilkie – which is being hosted by Amanda of Fig and thistle – and The Estelle Society – and I am hoping to have time to re-read The Woman in white in January too.
Apparently this story was taken from a play originally written by Collins and Dickens in partnership, Dickens apparently added to the script, acted as stage manager and even performed in the play himself. Later Willkie Collins revised the play as a novella.

This story is based around the
...more
C.C. Thomas
This short novel was so interesting to me because it was orginally a play written by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens and was performed all over England, even in front of Queen Victoria. Apparently it was performed to rave reviews and even caused tears in the auience. It was based on stories of Arctic expeditions which was so popular at the time.

Okay, I didn't cry but it was quite a captivating story of Victorian England. The plot involves a lover's triangle. Clara has someone become the love
...more
Marija
This is the story that inspired Dickens to write A Tale of Two Cities. Originally a play performed by Collins, Dickens and Ellen Ternan, it's debatable how much of the story is truly Collins', since the play was heavily edited by Dickens, himself. But considering the subject matter and writing style of Dickens' own previous works, one may wonder how much of Collins' inspiration fueled Dickens' subsequent darker novel.

The Frozen Deep has an interesting setting (based on the actual 1845 expedition
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My Inner Shelf
Alors bon, là je vais être cruelle, mais le principal intérêt de cette nouvelle de Maître Wilkie, c'est sa préface. La quatrième de couverture résume le contexte dans lequel la nouvelle a été écrite et ce qui l'a inspirée, mais aucunement la nouvelle elle-même. On nous présente celle-ci comme un roman d'aventures, alors que c'est loin d'être le cas. Tout d'abord écrite sous forme de pièce de théâtre, The frozen deep tire ses sources d'un fait divers qui défraya la chronique de l'époque, une expé ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Miss Clara Burnham doesn't mingle much in society. Raised in the Scottish hinterlands, she has grown up pale, delicate and odd. She is odd in that she believes she possesses the power of Second Sight, a power which her dear friend Mrs. Crayford is desperately trying to convince her is just a fancy, nothing more. Mrs. Crayford's husband is the First Lieutenant of the ship The Wanderer, which, with The Sea-mew, leaves port tomorrow to find the Northwest Passage. Therefore a ball is in progress. Cl ...more
Laura
Available at Gutenberg Project.

Definitely, this is not the English version of L'abîme by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, in spite of some websites.

First sentence:
The date is between twenty and thirty years ago. The place is an English sea-port. The time is night. And the business of the moment is—dancing.

I just found an interesting post concerning Dickens and Collins partnership, where The Frozen Deep is also mentioned: Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
Hermien
It was a nice surprise to find some more Wilkie Collins books I hadn't read yet and this one did not disappoint.
Hal Brodsky
This can also be found in the "Delphi Complete Works of Wilkie Collins" which at $2.99 on Amazon for the Kindle version is a bargain.

This Novella is a re-write of a play Collins wrote for or with Charles Dickens some 20 years previously. The play was produced and directed by Dickens who also took the starring role. Collins and other friends of Dickens were in it as well and it was put on to raise money for charity. It was a hit of such magnitude that a command performance was arranged for the Q
...more
Julia
This intriguing shorter novel by Collins centers around a young navy officer, in the 1800's, who leaves for a dangerous mission in Africa with an unexpected proposal of marriage to the beautiful young woman he loves. He left abruptly after stealing a kiss from her, not giving her the opportunity to respond. She wrote to him, expressing that she did not love him and could not marry him, but he never received her letter. When he returned home to claim her as his intended bride, she told him he was ...more
Traci
I'm a little late to the party, but this was read for "Wilkie in Winter", hosted by Amanda at Fig and Thistle and the Estella Society.

Wilkie Collins is one of my all-time favorite authors. What I love about him (and his friend Dickens) is that his writing is still very accessible today. I don't feel like I'm struggling to understand what's going on like I do with other classics. This holds true in The Frozen Deep and it was a quick and easy read, this little play. I would have loved to see it ac
...more
Chris
Collins' tale is based on the tragic trips to find the Northwest Passage. At times, the story is a bit melodramratic, but in the middle the tension is just right. It is a tale of love and revenge.
Cassandra
Sometimes people have strange, inexplicable, menacing presentiments that seemingly come out of nowhere. There is no sound reason for it, but at the same time it is not possible to shake off the certainty that some nebulous threat is waiting in the shadows of the future. This is the tone that dominates most of Wilkie Collins's novella The Frozen Deep.
Maybe it is just me, but I think even the title already carries the sense of gloom and of the foreboding of tragedy.

Based off Franklin's doomed Arct
...more
V. L. Craven
It’s about two men and two women–the women are the dearest of friends; the men, bitter rivals, though only one knows that, but I get ahead of myself. One of the women is married to a First Lieutenant on a ship bound for the arctic. She’s very close to the younger woman, Clara. Both of the previously mentioned men are also sailors–one, Richard, has just returned from Africa and the other, Frank, is set to go to the arctic with First Lieutenant Crayford. Richard left for Africa some years ago unde ...more
Surreysmum
[These notes were made in 1985:]. This edition is, I think, a thesis: a lengthy critical-historical introduction, followed by an edition of the play, co-written by Collins and Dickens, as it was performed by Dickens' amateur company in 1857 (Collins later revised it and staged it professionally, as well as turning it into a short story). I got interested in it from reading a biography of Dickens - especially from the accounts of Dickens' great success as Wardour, the tormented and ultimately sel ...more
Diana
A pretty basic mystery/thriller story about two men in love with the same girl who both end up on the same Arctic exhibition. It feels stilted to me and I didn't get very attached to any of the characters. If you think it sounds like a play, you're right, it was originally a play that Collins adapted to a novella. I'm sure there are better Collins books to read if you're aching to read one. This one is quite short if you're looking to breeze through an ok book.
Caroline
After reading Collins' A Woman In White, this novella fell short, though it has its own merits. As a typical piece of Victorian England, it represents the utter reliance by women on men. The element of the supernatural (visions, trances, etc.) gave it an extra depth.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this as an important piece of Wilkie Collins' repertoire and found the connection to Charles Dickens quite intriguing. I am amazed to find that this novella (and its original play format) inspired the famo
...more
Lyra
An enjoyable short read, and for me, it was the ending that really made the book for me. I liked the presentation of Richard and Frank, and the book moved at the just at the right pace, not too long to get bored, but long enough to see the character development. All in all, a refreshing novella and it was a good book to pick up and read.
Mirta
I enjoy reading it, it was a short in length and do not impress me as other works of Wilkie Collins which include "The Woman in White". But it was entertaining and enjoyable.
Nagisa
Deep love of Richard toward Clara is unbelievable, way too much romantic to me, but I like the ending.
Sarah
Dec 11, 2014 Sarah added it
A very short but excellent novella. Full of suspense and with a beautiful ending. Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Marts  (Thinker)
Adapted from the 1857 stage play, The Frozen Deep, tells a familiar story... A woman falls in loves, becomes engaged, meets another, turns him down, and the turned down guy vows revenge on the other. Sounds familiar doesn't it. But heres what happens next, these two guys end up trapped in the Arctic and meet by chance... Well the tale becomes rather interesting here since one will wonder what happens next, does he get his revenge? and what about the woman?
If you think this sounds interesting yo
...more
Rachel Murphy
This novella, by Wilkie Collins, was based on his own play of the same name (which both Collins himself, and Charles Dickens, acted in)--probably much like the way novels "based on the film" are done today, and with about as much success. It feels hastily-written, with 2-dimensional characters and a lack of subtlety and nuance. I'll forever be grateful to the play, however, for having inspired the central thrust of Dickens' immortal "A Tale of Two Cities", which is why I just had to read it. :-)
Melissa
I still can't quite commit to the old English concept of engagements. I mean, how can you pledge to marry someone you don't know, leave for several years, then return and be shocked that they don't actually love you? Then because that person who doesn't know you isn't able to return your "love" (I mean you don't actually know them either) then the only solution is that your life isn't worth living and you die.
Jill
Meh. I'm a big fan of Wilkie Collins, but he doesn't write a very good short story. I was interested in the opportunity to read Collins concentrate... but to write a brief tale, he keeps all his bad habits and cuts all character development. Clara had terrific potential as a really cool character. Second sight? It's like she's an early superhero. But she's one of the weakest and least interesting gothic heroines I've ever read.
Sylvester
I think I was expecting something very different - a combination of Collins' eerie scene settings, and the experiences of Arctic explorers. To me, the characters were thin, and the story generalized - nothing specific about the Arctic misery the men underwent - why did some die, and others not? No details. My favorite character was the cook - at least he had definite quirks. Not a bad book, just not what I wanted it to be.
☯Bettie☯
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Anne
It wasn't until the final chapter that I found myself really liking this book. I considered it good and well written throughout, but it was the final chapter that pushed it over the edge for me into the realm of my favorites. I'd say more, but that would spoil it, so I won't. Read the book, and see for yourself.
Mandy
An interesting story, with some long lapses between sequences of action. Not surprising really since this was rewritten from a play.
I found it all rather melodramatic, but then this was written by Wilkie Collins.
A quick unchallenging read.
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A close friend of Charles Dickens' from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William "Wilkie" Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of ...more
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