Giner de los Ríos, Francisco 1839-1915

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GINER de los RÍOS, Francisco 1839-1915

PERSONAL: Born November (some sources say October) 10, 1839, in Ronda, Spain; died February 17 (some sources say 18), 1915, in Madrid, Spain; son of Francisco Giner de la Fuente and Bernarda de los Ríos Rosas. Education: Studied law and philosophy at the universities of Barcelona and Granada; University of Granada, degree in law; University of Madrid, doctorate in law and international law, 1863.

CAREER: Educator, philosopher, and essayist. University of Madrid, chair of philosophy of law, 1868-98; founded Institución Libre de Enseñanza, 1867.


Estudios literarios, Imprenta de R. Labajos (Madrid, Spain), 1866.

Estudios jurídicos y politicos, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1875, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1921.

Estudios de literatura y arte, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1876, reprinted, Lectura (Madrid, Spain), 1919.

Estudios filosóficos y religiosos, Librería de F. Góngora (Madrid, Spain), 1876, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1921.

Encyclopedia jurídica; o, Exposición orgánica de la ciencia del derecho y el estado, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1878.

Estudios jurídicos, Aribau (Madrid, Spain), 1878.

Compendio de la historia del derecho romano, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1879.

Compendio de estética, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1883, reprinted, Verbum (Madrid, Spain), 1995.

Estudios sobre educación, [Madrid, Spain], 1886, reprinted, Julio Cosano (Madrid, Spain), 1922.

Portugal, impresiones para server de guía al viajero, Imprenta Popular (Madrid, Spain), 1888.

Estudios sobre artes industriales, Librería de José Jorro (Madrid, Spain), 1892, reprinted, Lectura (Madrid, Spain), 1926.

La persona social; estudios y fragmentos, Librería de V. Suarez (Madrid, Spain), 1899.

Estudios y fragmentos sobre la teoria de la persona social, E. Rojas (Madrid, Spain), 1899.

Filosofía y sociología, Henrich (Barcelona, Spain), 1904.

Pedagogía universitaria; problemas y noticias, Sucesores de Manuel Soler (Barcelona, Spain), 1914.

Ensayos sobre educación, Ediciones de la Lectura (Madrid, Spain), 1915, reprinted, Editorial Losada (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1945.

La universidad española, Imprenta Clásica española (Madrid, Spain), 1916, reprinted, Civitas (Madrid, Spain), 2001.

Obras completas de Don Francisco Giner de los Ríos, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1916, reprinted, Lectura (Madrid, Spain), 1989.

Principios de derecho natural, [Madrid, Spain], 1916.

Obras completas, Lectura (Madrid, Spain), 1916.

Lecciones sumarias de psicología, Clásica Española (Madrid, Spain), 1920.

Educación y enseñanza, Julio Cosano (Madrid, Spain), 1925.

Resumen de filosofía del derecho, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1926.

Estudios sobre artes industriales y cartas literarias, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1926.

Ensayos menores sobre educación y enseñanza, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1927.

Informes del Comisario de Educación de los Estados Unidos, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1928.

Acerca de la función de la ley, [Madrid, Spain], 1932.

Arqueología artistica de la peninsula, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1936.

Poesía española, Editorial Signo (Mexico City, Mexico), 1945.

El pensamiento vivo de Giner de los Ríos, Editorial Losada (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1949.

Tres ensayos, [Mexico City, Mexico], 1960.

Ensayos y cartas, Ediciones Tezontle (Mexico City, Mexico), 1965.

Notas a la enciclopedia jurídica de Enrique Ahrens, Editorial Tecnos (Madrid, Spain), 1965.

La cuestión universitaria, Editorial Tecnos (Madrid, Spain), 1967.

Giner: visito por Galdós, Unamuno, A. Machado, J. Ramón Jiménez, Alfonso Reyes, etc., Instituto Luis Vives (Mexico City, Mexico), 1969.

Sanz del río, 1814-1869, Editorial Tecnos (Madrid, Spain), 1969.

Ensayos, Alianza (Madrid, Spain), 1969.

Unamuno "agitador de espíritus" y Giner de los Ríos, Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain), 1976.

Antología pedagógica de Francisco Giner de los Ríos, Santillana (Madrid, Spain), 1977.

El don de consejo: espistolario de Joaquín Costa y Francisco Giner de los Ríos, Guara (Zaragoza, Spain), 1983.

Semblanza de una amistad: epistolario de August G. de Linares a Francisco Giner de los Ríos, Delegación de Cultura del Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Santander (Santander, Spain), 1986.

Escritos sobre la universidad española, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

Jornadas homenaje a Giner de los Ríos, Universidad de Jaén (Jaén, Spain), 1999.

SIDELIGHTS: Francisco Giner de los Ríos was well known during his lifetime as an author, educator, and philosopher. He was a man of diverse interests; this is evident in his books, as they deal with subjects of art, education, law, literature, religion, and sociology. His subjects are broad in nature, but what they "all have in common [is] a philosophical spirit and a deep social consciousness." Giner de los Ríos was not content, however, simply to write books to expound his ideas. He moved from the philosophical to the practical realm by founding the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, a private nondenominational school. Through this deed, Giner de los Ríos became "the guiding spirit of the educational and intellectual renaissance of modern Spain." His school had a far-reaching influence, and the students and teachers of the Institución included such illustrious figures as Leopoldo Alas, Ortega y Gasset, Américo Castro, Federico García Lorca, Antonio Machado, Joaquín Costa, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Gregorio Marañon, and Miguel de Unamuno.

Giner de los Ríos was born on November 10, 1839, in Ronda, Spain. Due to his father's position as a government employee, the family traveled around the country. Giner de los Ríos studied law and philosophy at the University of Barcelona and finally received a law degree from the University of Granada. During his university studies, he was able to develop his interests in the fields of painting and music, and began his writing career by publishing his first literary and political articles in the magazine Meridional. In 1863 Giner de los Ríos moved to Madrid to complete his doctoral studies and became acquainted with Julián Sanz del Río. This teacher introduced him to the ideas of Karl Krause, a German philosopher who reconciled the ideas of theism and pantheism by proposing that God is neither the physical world, nor is He exclusively separated from it, but that this divine being contains the world in Himself and, at the same time, transcends it. Giner de los Ríos was deeply affected by Krause's ideas; they would influence his deeds and thoughts throughout the remainder of his lifetime.

In 1868 Giner de los Ríos became a law professor and served as the department chair at the University of Madrid; he held these positions for more than thirty years. His career was interrupted in 1875, however, when he was imprisoned for protesting against the restoration government's intervention in the academic freedom of public education. Giner de los Ríos was released a year later, and he emerged with the determination to found a school free of political, religious, or philosophical constraints that would contribute toward "the general progress of education."

He accomplished this goal in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, which quickly gained national and international renown. The school was originally conceived as a center for university level studies, but soon expanded into primary and secondary schools. Its goal was remarkably radical for the time: to encourage young men and women in becoming balanced human beings through a strong moral, scientific, physical, artistic, and intellectual education. Schooling took place not only in the classroom, but also in art museums and in the natural world. Exams based upon rote memorization of facts and traditional textbooks were not a part of this educational system. Instead, "independent study and free thinking" were encouraged in both male and female students.

In 1881 Giner de los Ríos was reinstated in his position at the University of Madrid, but he continued with his work with the Institución and with his writing. Although Giner de los Ríos's books about pedagogy, literature, sociology, and religion are great contributions to the Spanish intellectual world, perhaps his most influential work is Resumen de filosofía del derecho, which describes the philosophy of law.

Estudios de literatura y arte, published in 1876, discusses the topics of epic poetry, music as an expression of esthetics, the basic principles of literature, and which genre of poetry was most appropriate for that time. Estudios filosóficos y religiosos investigates Giner de los Ríos's ideas about the Spanish Church, Catholics and the contemporary spirit, comparative psychology, and the scientific doctrine. In Filosofía y sociología the author speaks about the history of Plato's methodology of thought, Marx and Engel's socalled historical materialism, and nature and the human spirit.

"The Institución was Giner's greatest work," stated a Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature contributor. The article noted that the Institución's outstanding quality was based upon the founder's "vibrant personality and glowing spirit" that influenced so many of Spain's leading contributors to the fields of art, politics, science, social work, and literature.



Azcárate, Pablo, La cuestión universitaria, 1875. Epistolario de Francisco Giner de los Ríos, Gumersindode Azcárate y Nicolás Salmerón, Editorial Tecnos (Madrid, Spain), 1967.

Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1980.


Bailierem, February 22, 196l, Pablo Azcárate, "Don Francisco y Azcárate."

Journal de Genève, April 30, 1916, M. Aguilera, "Un gran educador español."

Nuevo Mundo, March 6, 1915, Eduardo Gómez de Baquero, "Giner de los Ríos," pp. 659-660.

País, April 18, 1915, A. Aguilera y Arjona, "El mejor homenaje," April 18, 1915, Leopoldo Alas y Argüelles, "Nuestro don Francisco."

Vida Nueva, July, 1922, A. Albornoz, "Don Francisco Giner de los Ríos y la Institución Libre de Enseñanza."


Andalucia ADN Web site, (April 24, 2002).

Don Francisco Giner de los Ríos Web site, (June 30, 2002).

Fundación Francisco Giner de los Ríos Web site, (April 24, 2002).*