The Frozen Deep and Miss or Mrs

by Wilkie Collins (Author)
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"The Frozen Deep": The play's genesis lay in the conflict between Dickens and John Rae's report on the fate of the Franklin expedition. In May 1845, the "Franklin expedition" left England in search of the Northwest Passage. It was last seen in July 1845, after which the members of the expedition were lost without trace. In October 1854, John Rae (using reports from "Eskimo" (Inuit) eyewitnesses, who informed that they had seen 40 "white men" and later 35 corpses) described the fate of the Franklin expedition in a confidential report to the Admiralty: "From the mutilated state of many of the corpses and the contents of the kettles it is evident that our wretched countrymen had been driven to the last resource—cannibalism—as a means of prolonging survival." Miss or Mrs.: Another crisp short novel from Wilkie Collins. As one who distrusts the institution of matrimony, he gives us another example of the somewhat strange Victorian marriage laws. The heroine of Miss or Mrs.?, Natalie, is fifteen years old. Her family wants her to wed Richard Turlington, a failing businessman who wants access to Natalie's father's fortune to save his hide. Natalie hates Turlington and secretly marries Launcelot Linzie, her cousin, who is unable to legally elope with her until her sixteenth birthday. Collins is a past master of knowing how to milk a complicated plot to good effect. Well worth reading. (Goodreads)

Publication date
February 17, 2021
Page count
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