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Devotion (1946)


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A couple of posters wondered about the historical accuracy of DEVOTION. Branwell Bronte was very much the way he was portrayed by Arthur Kennedy. Branwell and Emily were particularly close, as were Charlotte and Anne, as shown. The Belgian interlude was real, as was Charlotte's crush on M. Heger. If you'd like to learn more about Charlotte's time in Brussels, read her excellent novel VILLETTE, based on those events.


The Victorian writer Harriet Martineau described Charlotte as the shortest woman she had ever seen outside of a circus. Linda Hunt, not Olivia de Havilland. Charlotte's stunted growth was no doubt affected by malnutrition at boarding school and by the parsonage in Haworth being next to the cemetery, which leached into the local water supply. Tainted water had a great deal to do with the illness and early death of Charlotte's siblings. She outlived all of them.


DEVOTION is unusual in suggesting that Emily had a crush on Arthur Nichols and that he was the original of Heathcliff in WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Everyone else believes that the tormented romantic heroes in the novels of all three sisters are based on Branwell Bronte. Charlotte ridiculed curates in her novel SHIRLEY, so I'm inclined to believe that Nichols was more of a nerd/geek than a romantic hero. DEVOTION has a happy ending with Charlotte agreeing to marry Nichols. The Rev. Patrick Bronte did not want Charlotte to marry, fearing that her small frame could never survive childbirth. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.

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