F. M. Cornford
Francis Macdonald Cornford, FBA (27 February 1874 – 3 January 1943) was an English classical scholar and poet; because of the similarity of his Christian name and his wife's, he was known to family as "FMC" and his wife Frances Cornford was known as "FCC".
He was educated at St Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Fellow from 1899 and held a university teaching post from 1902. He became Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy in 1931 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1937.
His work Thucydides Mythistoricus (1907) argued that Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War was informed by Thucydides' tragic view. From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation (1912) sought out the deep religious and social categories and concepts that informed the achievements of the early Greek philosophers. He returned to this theme in Principium Sapientiae: The Origins of Greek Philosophical Thought (posthumously published, 1952). In some circles he may be better known for his Microcosmographia Academica (1908), the classic insider's satire on academic politics. It is the source of a number of catchphrases, such as the doctrine of unripeness of time, The Principle of the Wedge, and Principle of the Dangerous Precedent.
In 1909 he married the poet Frances Darwin, daughter of Sir Francis Darwin and Ellen Wordsworth Darwin, née Crofts; she was a granddaughter of Charles Darwin — she became known under her married name. They had five children:
- Helena Cornford (1913–1994); married Joseph L. Henderson in 1934.
- John Cornford (1915–1936), a poet and Communist who was killed in the Spanish Civil War.
- Christopher Cornford (1917–1993), an artist and writer
- Clare, who became the mother of Matthew Chapman
- Hugh Wordsworth Cornford (1921–1997), medical doctor
He was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 6th January 1943, but his wife is separately buried with her father Francis Darwin; his cremated remains are presumed to be buried with his wife and father-in-law in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground.
- "Cornford, Francis Macdonald (CNFT893FM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Peter Wilby Pass the sickbag, Alice New Statesman 30 April 2009
- Slavery was theft: we should pay New Statesman 10 September 2001
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Cornford, Francis Macdonald (1874–1943), classical scholar by Reginald Hackforth, rev. David Gill.
- Microcosmographia Academica online
- British Academy Fellowship entry
- The Origin of Attic Comedy (1914)
- Greek Religious Thought from Homer to the Age of Alexander (1923)
- Greek Natural Philosophy and Modern Science a Lecture (1938)
- Works by or about F. M. Cornford in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Trinity College Chapel
- F. M. Cornford at Find a Grave
|Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy Cambridge University
1930 - 1939