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Authority record

Trevelyan, Robert Calverley (1872-1951) poet and dramatist

  • Person
  • 1872-1951

Robert Calverley Trevelyan was born on 28 June 1872, the son of Sir George Trevelyan and his wife Caroline. After attending Harrow, Trevelyan was admitted to Trinity College on 15 June 1891. He graduated from Cambridge in 1894 with a BA and LLB, having take examinations in Classics Part I and Law Part II. Although his father wanted him to become a barrister, Trevelyan pursued a career as a poet. He published numerous works during his lifetime, many of them translations from ancient authors.

Trevelyan married the Dutch violinist Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven. The artist Julian Trevelyan was their son.

Cornford, Francis Macdonald (1874-1943) classical scholar and poet

  • Person
  • 1874-1943

Francis MacDonald Cornford was born at Eastbourne on 27 February 1874, son of The Revd James Cornford and Mary Emma MacDonald. He attensed St Paul's School and was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge on 13 June 1893 and was elected a Scholar the following year. Cornford obtained firsts in both parts of the classical tripos in 1905 and 1907; he was awarded the Chancellor's Classical Medal in the latter year. In 1897 he applied for the Chair of Greek at Cardiff, but was unsuccessful. However, in 1899 he was elected a Fellow of Trinity. He was appointed Assistant Lecturer in Classics at the College in 1902 and Lecturer in 1904. In 1909 Cornford Married Frances Darwin, daughter of Ellen Crofts of Newnham College and the botanist Francis Darwin. Frances was to become a poet of note and as such an influence on their eldest son Rupert John (known simply as John), born in 1915. Three further children followed, Christopher Francis, born 1917, a son in 1921 and a daughter two years later. During WWI Cornford was a musketry instructor at Grantham and rose to the rank of Captain before transferring to the Ministry of Munitions.
In 1921 and 1928 Cornford was unsuccessfully a candidate for the Regius Chair of Greek. In 1927 he was appointed Brereton Reader in Classics and four years later became the first to hold the Laurence Chair in Ancient Philosophy, a post which he held until retirement in 1939. He was elected FBA in 1937.
Early in his academic career, Cornford became disenchanted with "Cambridge classics" with its emphasis on philology and published "The Cambridge Classical Course: an essay in anticipation of further reform". in 1903. He soon allied with like-minded persons such as Jane Ellen Harrison, Gilbert Murray and A B Cook in a group that became known as the 'Cambridge Ritualists' who looked for the underlying thoughts and myths that underpinned classical Greece. A string of publications ensued: "Thucydides Mythistoricus" (1907), "From Religion to Philosophy: a study in the origins of Western speculation" (1912), "The Origins of Attic Comedy" (1914), "Greek Religious thought from Homer to Alexander" (1923), "The Laws of Motion in Ancient Thought" (1931), "Before and After Socrates" (1931), "Plato's Theory of Knowledge: the Theaetetus and Sophist of Plato" (1935), "Plato's Cosmology: the Timaeus of Plato" (1937), "Plato and Parmenides" (1939). A series of essays, "Unwritten Philosophy and Other essays" was published posthumously.
Cornford was also active politically on the Cambridge scene. In 1897 he organised a student petition in favour of degrees for women and in 1904 published an anonymous flysheet on the subject of compulsory chapel. To support rationalist moves in the University he joined with C K Ogden in founding the Heretics. His most famous excursion into University politics was <emph>Microcosmographia Academica</emph>, first published anonymously in 1908 and reissued many times since. In it he satirises the Cambridge system and the types of administrator that it produced. During WWI, when Bertrand Russell was deprived of his College lectureship, Cornford was one of the body of Fellows that attempted to get him reinstated.
Cornford died at his home, Conduit Head on 3 January 1943.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig Josef Johann (1889-1951) philosopher

  • Person
  • 1889-1951

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born on 26 April 1889 in Vienna, the son of Karl Wittgenstein, a wealthy steel industrialist. He studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg whence he moved in 1908 to the University of Manchester to study aeronautics where he designed a primitive jet-turbine engine. The mathematics required for his studies in engineering brought him to consider the philosophy of mathematics and to seek out Bertrand Russell at Trinity College Cambridge, with whom he studied, at first on an unofficial basis. In January 1912 he was admitted to Trinity where he spent five terms before moving to Skjolden in Norway, where he thought he might work on logic in peaceful surroundings.

At the outbreak of war, Wittgenstein volunteered for the Austrian army, fighting on the Eastern and Southern fronts before he was captured by the Italians in 1918. During his incarceration, he was able to finish the work which was to become the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, later published in 1922. The war clearly had a profound effect on Wittgenstein, who, shortly after his release gave away the fortune that he had inherited from his father and resolved to lead a life of simplicity.

Wittgenstein now took up the career of schoolteacher, holding positions in a number of schools in Lower Austria, but he was not always sufficiently sensitive to the needs of the slower children. In 1926 he was forced to leave after hitting a young pupil, and he returned to Vienna to design a house for his sister.

In 1929, Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge on the prompting of Frank Ramsey and in June received the degree of PhD, submitting the Tractatus as his dissertation. In the following year he was elected to a senior research fellowship of Trinity College, which he held for six years. At the same time he was a lecturer in the Moral Sciences faculty, during which time the Blue and Brown books were dictated to his pupils. In 1939 he succeeded G E Moore as Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy. During WWII he worked as a porter in Guy's hospital and as a laboratory assistant in a laboratory in Newcastle looking into shell shock. He returned to his duties in Cambridge at the end of the war, but resigned from his chair in 1947. In 1948 and 49 he lived in Ireland but returned to England, dying in Cambridge in 1951.

Frazer, Sir James George (1854-1941) Knight, social anthropologist and classical scholar

  • Person
  • 1854-1941

Frazer was born 1 January 1854 in Glasgow, and after graduating MA in 1874 from the University of Glasgow, entered Trinity College with a scholarship. He was Second Classic in 1878, and a year later was made a Fellow of the College on the strength of his dissertation, "The Growth of Plato’s Ideal Theory”. This Title Alpha Fellowship, for which no duties were required, was renewed as a Title B fellowship (for those 'engaged in the systematic study of some important branch of literature or science') in 1885 and 1890, before becoming qualified to hold a Pension Fellowship in 1895, at which time it became tenable for life.

“The Golden Bough”, the work for which Frazer is best known, was first published in 1890. The book drew on a comprehensive amount of data and traced common evolutionary patterns in the development of seemingly disparate cultures worldwide. His evolutionary theory of societal development, in which societies moved from a belief in primitive magic, to religion, to science was expanded over three editions, which ballooned from two, to three, to twelve volumes, with an additional volume (“Aftermath”) twenty years later.

Frazer followed “The Golden Bough” with other anthropological works, including “Totemism and Exogamy” (1910), “The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead” (1913-1924), “Folk-Lore in the Old Testament” (1918), “The Worship of Nature” (1926), “Myths of the Origin of Fire” (1930), “The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion” (1933), and the four volume “Anthologia Anthropologica. The Native Races of Africa and Madagascar [and Australasia, Asia and Europe, and America]” (1938-1939). His first published work was the revised edition of George Long’s “C. Sallusti Crispi Catalina et Iugurtha” (1884); he continued to produce works of classical scholarship at intervals, with editions of “Pausanias’s Description of Greece” (1898), Apollodorus’s “The Library” (1921), and Ovid’s “Fasti” (one for Macmillan, 1929, one for Loeb, 1931). He also produced more literary works, editing the letters of William Cowper (1912) and essays of Joseph Addison (1915), and writing a series of articles in Addison’s style, “Sir Roger de Coverley” in “The Saturday Review” (1915, published as a book in 1920).

In 1896, he married Lilly Grove (born Elizabeth Johanna de Boys Adelsdorfer in 1854/5), a French widow with two children, Charles Grenville Grove (1878-1949) and Lilly Mary Grove (c 1880-1919). Lilly’s first husband Charles Baylee Grove had been a captain in the British merchant service; they married in 1877, he died in January 1889. Lilly was a French teacher who produced French schoolbooks and plays and promoted the use of phonographic records in the teaching of languages. Her publications include “Scenes of Familiar Life” (1896), “Berthes aux grands pieds” (1902), “Histoire de Monsieur Blanc” (1910), and “Je sais un conte” (1911). She was working on a book on the history of dance when she met Frazer (“Dancing”, 1895), and later wrote a book for children based on “The Golden Bough”, entitled “Leaves from the Golden Bough” (1924). She also translated one of his books, “Adonis” in 1921, and several works by French scholars, including Albert Houtin’s “A Short History of Christianity” (1926) and François Aulard’s “Christianity and the French Revolution” (1927). In the 1930s she commissioned an operetta based on her story “The Singing Wood”, and co-authored a book with James, a small book entitled “Pasha the Pom: the Story of a Little Dog” (1937).

Lilly had a highly developed business sense, and stepped into the role of James’s manager and press agent, promoting him in Britain as well as the continent, where she arranged for his works to be translated into French. James received many honours, most notably a knighthood in 1914, followed by the Order of Merit in 1925. He was named to the first chair of social anthropology in Britain at the University of Liverpool in 1908, was inducted into numerous societies, awarded a number of honorary degrees, and was particularly pleased by a lectureship in anthropology established in his honour in 1922. He was very often in the news, referenced whenever folklore or myth were discussed, and wrote a number of articles for both academic journals and popular newspapers, including a much-reproduced opinion piece in “The Morning Post” in 1925, in favour of forgiveness of the French war debt.

After James suffered a dramatic loss of sight while giving a lecture in May 1931, he and Lilly travelled to Switzerland for a number of eye operations, which were temporarily helpful, but failed to stave off an eventual near blindness. Secretaries were employed as James revised and added to earlier works in the later 1930s. Lilly became increasingly deaf herself. In the late 1930s, they moved from accommodation in London to 7 Causewayside in Cambridge, where they died within a day of each other: James on 7 May and Lilly on 8 May, 1941.

Trevelyan, Julian Otto (1910-1988) artist

  • Person
  • 1910-1988

Julian Otto Trevelyan was born on 20 February 1910, the son of poet and translator Robert Calverley Trevelyan (1872-1951) and his Dutch wife Elizabeth, née des Amorie van der Hoeven (1975-1957). He attended Bedales School and was admitted to Trinity College Cambridge in 1928, where he spent two years reading English but did not complete his degree; he was linked to the modernist group associated with the magazine Experiment, which included William Empson, Jacob Bronowski, Humphrey Jennings, and Kathleen Raine. He first exhibited work with the London Group in 1929. In 1931 he moved to Paris to pursue an artistic career, working first at the Académie Moderne run by Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant, and then with Stanley Hayter at Atelier 17 where he met Miró and Picasso. He was friends with fellow-artists such as Alexander Calder, Anthony Gross (1905-84), and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. His first joint exhibition, with Robin Darwin, was at the Bloomsbury Gallery in London in 1932.

After his return to England in 1935 he made his home at Durham Wharf on the Thames, where he lived for the rest of his life. His first one-man show was held that year at the Lefèvre Galleries, and some of his paintings and etchings were chosen for the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London. In 1937-1938, he worked for Tom Harrisson's Mass-Observation movement, producing landscape collages of newspaper scraps, ephemera, and coloured paper. He helped organize the 'Unprofessional Painting' exhibition of works by amateur artists, which was shown at Gateshead-upon-Tyne and Peckham in autumn 1938, also participating in a debate on 'Painting and Realism' with amateur artists from the Ashington Group of Nottingham miners. He attended pacifist demonstrations and produced work in support of the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined Hayter's Industrial Camouflage Research Unit with his friend Roland Penrose, before serving as a camouflage officer with the Royal Engineers from 1940 until he was invalided out in 1943.

From 1950 to 1960 he taught etching at the Chelsea School of Art and at the Royal College of Art from 1955 to 1963. In 1963 he suffered a viral infection of the brain which permanently affected his speech and caused him to give up teaching. He concentrated thereafter on printmaking, and in 1965 was one of the founder members of the Printmakers' Council, though he later resumed painting as well. He was made a senior fellow of the Royal College of Art and an honorary senior Royal Academician in 1986.

Trevelyan travelled widely, making visits to Mount Athos (in 1931), Yugoslavia (in 1932), where he worked as part of a small film unit and painted murals in Dubrovnik, Malta (in 1958 and again in 1970), Russia (in 1960), Uganda (in 1966), India (1967-68), Morocco (in 1972), and to most countries in Europe. Several of his 'suites' of prints were inspired by these travels. In 1934 he married the potter Ursula Darwin; they had one son, Philip Erasmus (b 1943), but divorced in 1949. In 1951 he married the artist Mary Fedden, who survived him at his death on 12 July 1988.

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