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Frances Cornford Biography

(1886–1960), Poems, Spring Morning, Autumn Midnight, Mountains and Molehills, On a Calm Shore, Collected Poems

British poet, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin; she was born in Cambridge, where her parents were both lecturers. In 1909 she married F. M. Cornford, one of Cambridge's leading classicists and later the University's Professor of Ancient Philosophy. John Cornford was their son. She was encouraged in her early writing by Rupert Brooke during his time studying at Cambridge and published Poems, her first volume, in 1910. Subsequent collections of her verse include Spring Morning (1915), Autumn Midnight (1923), Mountains and Molehills (1935), and On a Calm Shore (1960). Her Collected Poems appeared in 1954, and in 1959 she received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. While some of her work displays the insipidity of the lesser poetry of the Georgians, with whom she was associated, she frequently combines a disarming simplicity with incisive and unsettling commentaries on experience. A number of her poems achieve the hauntingly memorable quality that has resulted in the inclusion of ‘To a Fat Lady Seen from a Train’ and ‘All Souls' Night’ in numerous anthologies. She also translated French and Russian poetry, collaborating with Stephen Spender to produce an English version of Paul Éluard's Le Dur Désir de Durer (1950).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cockfield Suffolk to Frances Cornford (née Darwin) Biography