Gumersindo Laverde Ruiz

Birth Date: 5th April 1835 (12th October 1890)
Birth Place: Estrada (Cantabria)

He moved with his parents, Toribio Laverde González and Asunción Ruiz Puertas, to Nueva, Llanes when he was four. In that village he studied the first letters and Latin with Antonio González. In 1847, he moved to Oviedo and studied Philosophy. Then, he studied Law in Oviedo, Madrid, Valladolid and Salamanca. In 1859 he took his degree in Law and in Philosophy and Arts in Oviedo. Later on he took a doctor’s degree in both subjects. In 1862 competed for several chairs and got one at the Secondary School of Lugo in 1863, then he became director of that centre and filled his office from 1870 to 1873. He also competed for the vacancy of Latin Literature at the Universities of Valladolid and Santiago. He was appointed to both of them but he chose the University of Valladolid and took up his post on 1st October 1873. Then he changed this chair for the one of Spanish General Literature and was elected dean in the Faculty of Philosophy. In 1874, he formed part of the board of examiners that gave his friend Marcelino Fernández Pelayo the extraordinary degree prize. On 18th October 1876 he was appointed to the University of Santiago, where he stayed until his death.

He focused mainly on the literary and philosophical studies and he became known as a prose writer and poet. He was a very good friend of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo and wrote to him such an amount of letters that a year before Marcelino’s death, he confessed that most of his Works wouldn’t have been created without Laverde’s stimulus. He also wrote letters to other great intellectuals of that time like Juan Valera. In 1865, he published “Gran almanaque de las dos Asturias” and defended the Project of the Cantabrian railway in letters and articles published in El Trabajo, Revista Ovetense and La Abeja Montañesa of Santander, which was criticized in almost all Asturian press.

He got an honourable mention at the Poetry Contest of the Spanish Academy, celebrated in 1865. In 1872, he was nominated as head of administration. He was also a member of the Royal Academies of Language (1864) and History (1868). He defended our philosophical past and influenced Menéndez Pelayo on his first works.

 Work & Activities

His written production is not very extensive and was compiled in “Ensayos críticos sobre Filosofía, Literatura e Instrucción Pública” (Lugo, 1868). After his death, Josefa Gayoso, his widow, sent his archives to Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo so that his works could be published but this could not be carried out because of Marcelino’s death. His poetries were published in 1952 with a prologue by José María de Cossío. There is a strong presence of phantasmagoric themes in his love poems reminiscent of Aphonse de Lamartine and MacPherson (Ossián) like in La luna y el lirio.

He collaborated in several newspapers and magazines: Álbum de la Juventud, El Faro Asturiano, La Revista literaria de Asturias, El Trabajo, Revista de Asturias y El Oriente de Asturias (Asturias), Eco de Salamanca y La Crónica de Salamanca (Salamanca), España Literaria (Sevilla), Círculo Científico y Literario, Revista de Instrucción pública, Revista Ibérica, La Concordia. Revista de España, La Enseñanza, El Progreso, Revista de Madrid, La llustracción Gallega y Asturiana, Revista Europea and others (Madrid) and La Abeja Montañesa, La Tertulia, Revista Cántabro Asturiana y el Libro de Cantabria (Santander). He left a lot of articles and unpublished verses too.



Ensayos críticos sobre Filosofía, Literatura e Instrucción Pública (Lugo: Soto Freire, 1868),

Paz y misterio, poem.

Los estudios bíblicos, 1868, 5th volumen of Revista Española

El tradicionalismo en España en el siglo XVIII, 1868, 1st volumen of Revista Española.

A Isabel II, Madrid, 1865, which was awarded a prize by the Spanish Academy.

El filósofo español Sebastián Fox Morcillo: discurso inaugural del año académico de 1884 à 85 en la Vniversidad de Santiago Santiago, 1885.

Gumersindo Laverde Ruiz. Selection and study by José María de Cossío. Santander, 1951.

Apuntes lexicográficos sobre una rama del dialecto asturiano, 1879, Revista de Asturias.