After attending Westminster School Hackforth studied from 1907 to 1909 classics at Trinity College, graduating with first class honors from both parts of the classical tripos. After two years as a lecturer at the University of Manchester (1910-1912), he returned in 1912 as a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and remained in this position until the end of his life. For many years he was editor of the Classical Quarterly, and so won the respect and friendship of JD Denniston and AE Housman. From 1939 to 1952 he was the second Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge University. 1946 Hackforth was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. He is buried along with his wife Lily ( † 29 March 1975) on the Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge.
Hackforth worked mainly on Plato ( letters, apology, Philebus, Phaedrus, Phaedo ). He also wrote two chapters for the Cambridge Ancient History to the History of Sicily in the 4th and 5th century BC, drawing on his interpretation of the relevant passages in Pindar, Bacchylides and in the letters of Plato.
Writings (selection )
- The Authorship of the Platonic Epistles. Manchester 1913 online
- The composition of Plato 's Apology. Cambridge 1933
- Plato 's examination of pleasure: a translation of the Philebus with an introduction and commentary. Cambridge 1945
- Plato's Phaedrus. Translated with an introduction and commentary. Cambridge 1952
- Plato's Phaedo, Translated with an introduction and commentary. Cambridge 1955