Francis Macdonald Cornford
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Francis Macdonald Cornford

F. M. Cornford

Francis Macdonald Cornford

(1874-02-27)27 February 1874
Eastbourne, England
Died3 January 1943(1943-01-03) (aged 68)
Cambridge, England
Frances Cornford (m. 1909)
Academic background
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Academic work
InstitutionsTrinity College, Cambridge
Notable studentsW. K. C. Guthrie

Francis Macdonald Cornford (27 February 1874 - 3 January 1943) was an English classical scholar and translator known for influential work on ancient philosophy, notably Plato, Parmenides, Thucydides, and ancient Greek religion. Frances Cornford, his wife, was a noted poet. Due to the similarity of their forenames, he was known to family as "FMC" and his wife as "FCC".[2]

Early life and family

Cornford was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, on 27 February 1874.[2] He attended St Paul's School, London.[2]

In 1909 Cornford married the poet Frances Darwin, daughter of Sir Francis Darwin and Ellen Wordsworth Darwin, née Crofts, and a granddaughter of Charles Darwin. They had five children:

Academic career

Cornford was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Fellow from 1899 and held a teaching post from 1902.[5] He became the first Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy in 1931 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1937.[2] He used wit and satire to propagate proposals for reforming the teaching of the classics at Cambridge, in Microcosmographia Academica (1908).[2]

He died on 3 January 1943 in his home, Conduit Head in Cambridge.[2] He was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 6 January 1943.[2]


See also



  1. ^ a b Johnson 2008, p. 2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hackforth & Gill 2004.
  3. ^ Pearce, Jeremy (4 December 2007). "Joseph L. Henderson, 104; Expanded Jungian Methods". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Hartog 1998.
  5. ^ "Cornford, Francis Macdonald (CNFT893FM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ Wilby, Peter (4 May 2009). "Pass the Sickbag, Alice". New Statesman. Vol. 138 no. 4947. London. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Slavery Was Theft: We Should Pay". New Statesman. London. 10 September 2001. Retrieved 2019.


Hackforth, Reginald; Gill, David (2004). "Cornford, Francis Macdonald (1874-1943)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32571.
Hartog, Martin (1998). "Obituaries: Hugh Wordsworth Cornford". BMJ. 316 (7136): 1023. ISSN 1756-1833. PMC 1112870. PMID 9552882.
Johnson, Gordon (2008). University Politics: F. M. Cornford's Cambridge and His Advice to the Young Academic Politician (2nd ed.). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-89789-1.

External links

Academic offices
New office Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy
Succeeded by
Reginald Hackforth

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