After graduating in Modern Languages from Cambridge University, Arthur embarked upon a teaching career in both the public and the private sectors. What he enjoyed most was the ten-year period he spent teaching English to overseas students in Central London.
His interest in languages led him to join others who were engaged on a project to translate from Latin the twelve volumes of letters written by the fifteenth-century philosopher-priest Marsilio Ficino. After more than forty years, ten of these volumes have been published and work continues on the remaining two. Arthur now looks after this project and has edited volumes 9 and 10. This work has resulted in visits to Malta, Greece, Italy, and Australia, as well as various parts of the UK, to speak about Ficino and run courses of study. From Arthur’s commitment to Plato came a set of five volumes that offer the English reader the chance to study many of Ficino’s commentaries to Plato’s dialogues.
Arthur has long been attracted by the Sanskrit language, in which he tutored for many years and led courses in Sydney and Auckland. He has produced A Mahābhārata Companion, which is a guide to the world’s longest poem, and he is particularly fascinated by the etymological connections that link English, Latin, and Greek to the Sanskrit language.
His other publications include children’s guides to spelling, mathematics, and English grammar.
Arthur’s Ficino Translations
Below are the titles which Arthur has published with Shepheard-Walwyn. Click on the covers to visit each product page and find out more. The Letters of Marsilio Ficino is a collaboration by a large number of translators. Arthur has been a member of this team for a number of years and has been the editor of volumes 9 and 10.
Endorsements for Arthur’s translations of Ficino
“Each [volume] is prefaced by a helpful introduction by Arthur Farndell. Arthur is one of those engaged in the immense task of translating all twelve books of letters of the renaissance scholar and man of wisdom, Marsilio Ficino, from Latin into English. The School [of Economic Science] are to be congratulated on venturing upon such a mammoth project requiring not only great sensitivity of understanding of Ficino’s ideas, but translation skills to match. The result is breathtaking.” (Ficino Letters vols 9 and 10)
Elizabeth Medler, Editor of New Vision (www.thehamblintrust.org.uk)
“This work is a translation of Ficino’s shorter commentaries or summaries that he prefixed to his translations of Plato’s dialogues and the twelve letters attributed to Plato. It fills a need, since these Ficinian works have never been translated into English before. Even those Anglophone scholars who know Latin still need a translation in order to read quickly through a large body of material.” (Gardens of Philosophy)
Carol V. Kaske, Cornell University in Renaissance Quarterly
“It is gracefully translated, so that one has an impression of the refined quality of Ficino’s mind … This book is, without question, a major contribution to Renaissance scholarship and in particular to Ficino scholarship. At the same time, as is typical of Ficino, it is delightful to read and is imbued with a lofty love of wisdom and a dedication to divine truth that are inspiring.” (All Things Natural)
Joseph Milne, Temenos Academy Review
“This is philosophy with a mystical dimension, one that is crucial to the original Socratic and Platonic teaching… It is a very clear and readable translation, particularly in view of some of the ambiguities of the Latin.” (Gardens of Philosophy)
Tony Cross in Faith and Freedom
“Surprisingly, this is the first time it has been translated into English and Arthur Farndell has to be congratulated on offering the reader a rare chance to see how the Timaeus was viewed at the time of the Renaissance.” (All Things Natural)
Arthur recites his sonnet “From Distant Star” written in memory of his late wife Phyllis in this video.