Anniversary of the death of writer Ruben Andresen Leitão

23 de September, 2023

Today, 23 September, marks the 48th anniversary of the death of Ruben A., the literary pseudonym of Ruben Andresen Leitão.


Ruben Alfredo Andresen Leitão was born in Lisbon in 1920 and died in London in 1975.


He made his debut in 1949 with Páginas, a mixture of diary and fiction. His literary activity in the 1960s was marked by the publication of three autobiographical volumes, O Mundo à Minha Procura (The World is Looking for Me). In 1973, he published his last work, the novel Silêncio para 4 (Silence for 4).


Ruben Andresen Leitão was also a professor at King’s College in London and an official at the Brazilian Embassy in Lisbon for almost 20 years, a post he left in 1972.

After that, he was director of the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda and director-general for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Culture, launching, in 1975, among other actions, a project to revitalise the Soares dos Reis National Museum.


Ruben Andresen Leitão graduated in Historical-Philosophical Sciences from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, where he defended his thesis Cartas de D. Pedro V ao Conde de Lavradio (Letters from King Pedro V to the Count of Lavradio). From then on, his interest in Pedro V led him to publish numerous volumes of the king’s correspondence, as well as other historical studies and research.


The Soares dos Reis National Museum is today housed in the Carrancas Palace, acquired by King Pedro V in 1861 as the official residence of the royal family during their visits to the north of the country.


The building was donated to Misericórdia in 1915 through the will of King Manuel II, who intended to build a hospital there, but this never materialised.


Later, the State bought the palace to house the Soares dos Reis National Museum, which had been founded in 1833 by King Pedro IV and was housed in the Santo António Convent, now the Porto Municipal Public Library.


The Carrancas Palace was again remodelled for its new function and in 1940 the Soares dos Reis National Museum was inaugurated here, the oldest public art museum in Portugal.