Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameProfessor Francis CORNFORD
SpouseFrances Crofts DARWIN
FatherSir Francis DARWIN FRS (1848-1925)
MotherEllen Wordsworth CROFTS (1856-1903)
Notes for Professor Francis CORNFORD
Francis Macdonald Cornford (27 February 1874 – 3 January 1943) was an English classical scholar and poet.

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.[1] 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.[2][3]

He married the poet Frances Darwin, daughter of Francis Darwin and granddaughter of Charles Darwin — she became known under her married name. They had five children; Christopher, Clare, Helena, Hugh, and the poet John Cornford. Matthew Chapman is their grandson through Clare.
Notes for Frances Crofts DARWIN
She was the daughter of the botanist Francis Darwin and Ellen Crofts, born into the Darwin — Wedgwood family. She was a granddaughter of the British naturalist Charles Darwin. Her elder half-brother was the golf writer Bernard Darwin. She was raised in Cambridge, among a dense social network of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and was educated privately.[1]
In 1909, Frances Darwin married Francis Cornford, a classicist and poet. They had 5 children:

Helena (b. 1913)
John (1915–1936), a poet and Communist who was killed in the Spanish Civil War.
Christopher (1917–1993), an artist and writer
Clare, who became the mother of Matthew Chapman

Frances Cornford published several books of verse, including Poems (1910), Spring Morning (1915), Autumn Midnight (1923), and Different Days (1928). Mountains and Molehills (1935) was illustrated with woodcuts by her cousin Gwen Raverat.

She wrote poems including The Guitarist Tunes Up:

With what attentive courtesy he bent
Over his instrument;
Not as a lordly conqueror who could
Command both wire and wood,
But as a man with a loved woman might,
Inquiring with delight
What slight essential things she had to say
Before they started, he and she, to play.

One of Frances Cornford's poems was a favourite of the late Philip Larkin and his lover Maeve Brennan. All Souls' Night uses the superstition that a dead lover will appear to a still faithful partner on that November date. Maeve, many years after Larkin's death, would re-read the poem on All Souls:

My love came back to me
Under the November tree
Shelterless and dim.
He put his hand upon my shoulder,
He did not think me strange or older,
Nor I him.
Although the myth enhances the poem - it can be read as the meeting of older, former lovers.

She is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.
Last Modified 1 Jul 2012Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh