To the Editors:

While his assessment of Mira Nair’s reworking of Thackeray’s novel is agreeable [“Becky in the Movies,” NYR, November 18], Robert Gottlieb is mistaken on one comparison he makes between the film and the novel. He is right that the scene of Becky riding the elephants in India is nowhere in the book, but is incorrect in stating that “the book never travels beyond Germany.” Chapter 43 is titled “In Which the Reader Has to Double the Cape,” and in it we do indeed travel to India to visit the O’Dowds and Major Dobbin, among others. It is here that Thackeray takes some time to transport us to his birthplace.

Thomas Melvin

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Robert Gottlieb replies:

Mr. Melvin is exactly right. I should have written what I meant to say, that Becky herself never got beyond Germany, but I conflated character with book. Thanks for the correction.

This Issue

December 16, 2004