This Above All

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This Above All
First edition
Author Eric Knight
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre War novel
Publisher Cassell
Publication date

This Above All (1941) is a novel by Eric Knight. It was adapted into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1942.


The title of the novel is derived from a quote by Polonius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act 1, scene 3): "This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man."


Spending leave together on the South Coast during the Battle of Britain and the beginning of the blitz, Clive and Prudence have an affair. Having survived Dunkirk, but having a crisis of conscience over what the war is being fought for and disgusted at the incompetence of the ruling elite, Clive decides not to return to the Army and to go absent without leave.


  • Clive Briggs/Hanley: A working-class private in the British Army who fought in France and returned to England via Dunkirk.
  • Prudence Cathaway: An upper-middle-class sergeant in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.


The novel has been adapted to a movie of the same name in 1942 directed by Anatole Litvak and starring Tyrone Power and Joan Fontaine. It won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, Black-and-White.