5 December 2006
COLLINS, Wilkie (1824-1889). The Frozen Deep. A Drama in Three Acts. "Not Published": 1866.
8o. Original printed wrappers; quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: WILKIE COLLINS (AUTHOR'S COPY, WITH HIS CORRECTIONS); E.H? (red morocco booklabel).
VERY RARE FIRST EDITION: CORRECTED BY THE AUTHOR AND WITH NOTES ON THE ACCOMPANYING PROGRAM BY CHARLES DICKENS. On the front wrapper Collins has written "Corrected Copy" and he makes substantive changes on fourteen pages, principally to stage directions. Some one hundred words are written in the margins, supplementing or changing details of dialogue and direction. The longest addition is on page 14, where the figure touches Clara: "The figure of Wardour at the same moment raises and points the gun at Frank. As he raises the gun a faint cry is [sic] escapes Clara and she sinks into Lucy's arms."
[With:] Printed program for performances in remembrance of Douglas Jerrold. Bifolium, 4to. WITH 7 LINES IN COLLINS'S HAND ANNOUNCING REHEARSALS FOR 'THE FROZEN DEEP' AND 3 LINES IN DICKENS'S HAND. Collins writes "Frozen Deep. Rehearsal Calls" and provides four dates and times. To that, Dickens adds two further dates: "On Saturday July 4th the piece will be privately acted here to the Queen. And on Saturday July 11th it will be acted here, agreeably to the accompanying programme. Frederick Evans Esquire and to others."
John C. Eckel writes that The Frozen Deep and The Lighthouse "were written by Wilkie Collins and acted for the benefit of the Douglas Jerrold Fund, in 1856, and at the private Theatricals, Tavistock House, in 1857. As usual with a play which passed into rehearsal under Dickens' auspices it came out improved. This was the case with 'The Frozen Deep.' The changes were so numerous that the drama almost may be ascribed to Dickens." Eckel acknowledges the present copy, sold at Anderson's in 1911: "a unique and interesting copy, having the autograph of Wilkie Collins on the title and a playbill of its presentation at Tavistock House... It was said that the copy belonged to Mamie Dickens, daughter of the novelist." Eckel, p.166.
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