F. M. Cornford

Francis Macdonald Cornford FBA (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]

F. M. Cornford

Francis Macdonald Cornford

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

Early life and familyEdit

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 careerEdit

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 alsoEdit



  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 13 November 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 13 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Slavery Was Theft: We Should Pay". New Statesman. London. 10 September 2001. Retrieved 13 November 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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Hartog, Martin (1998). "Obituaries: Hugh Wordsworth Cornford". BMJ. 316 (7136): 1023. ISSN 1756-1833. PMC 1112870. PMID 9552882.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External linksEdit

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