Ricardo Descalzi

Ricardo Descalzi

Ricardo Descalzi del Castillo (Riobamba, September 22, 1912 – Riobamba, November 29, 1990) was an Ecuadorian novelist, historian, playwright, short story writer, translator, literary critic, university professor and medical doctor. In 1928, he founded the magazine Surcos with his Mejía National Institute classmates José Alfredo Llerena and Arturo Meneses. After graduating from high school in 1932, he published “Ghismondo,” a 100-page novel based on his experiences as a student. He also wrote the novel “Saloya” (1962), a short story collection “Los murmullos de Dios” (1959), and the stage plays “Los Caminos Blancos” (1939), “En el horizonte se alzó la niebla” (1961), and “El huasipungo de Andrés Chiliquinga” (1981). His six-volume “Historia crítica del teatro ecuatoriano” is perhaps his most important work (1968). Among his translations is “Poemas” (1969), a French-to-Spanish translation of poems by Nobel laureate Jean Poilvet Le Guenn. The Tobar Prize was bestowed upon him by the municipality of Quito in 1968. He was a member of the House of Ecuadorian Culture, the National Academy of History, and the Bolivarian Society of Quito, where he served as its vice president.


He was the son of Mario Descalzi Vignolo and María Isabel del Castillo Valencia. His father died of pneumonia in 1914.

In 1941 he married Olga Salgado Noboa with whom he had 6 children.


At the age of six he was sent to Guayaquil to study elementary school at the accredited and traditional Santistevan School. In 1926 he traveled to Quito to continue high school at the Mejía National Institute (Instituto Nacional Mejía), where he graduated in 1932, to later begin his medical studies.


  • Medical doctor (1941 – mid 1960s)
  • Director of the School of Fine Arts of Quito
  • Head of Public Relations of the Central Bank of Ecuador
  • Director of the National Library


  • 1950: His play Clamor de Sombras won the House of Ecuadorian Culture’s First Prize in Theater in 1950.
  • 1963: his novel Saloya won the First Prize at the Central University.
  • 1968: The Municipality of Quito awarded him the Tobar Prize.


He died on November 29, 1990 in Riobamba, Ecuador after being seriously ill from coronary disease.


Ricardo Descalzi in a 2012 Ecuadorian stamp (to commemorate 100 years since his birth.
Ecuadorian stamp from 2012. (to commemorate the centenary of his birth).

Partial list of works

Los Caminos Blancosplay1939
Anfiteatro: drama en tres actos y en prosaplay1950
Portovelo: Episodios de un campamento minerohistory1951
Los murmullos de Diosshort stories1959
En el horizonte se alzó la niebla. Clamor de sombrasplay1961Clamor de sombras was the winner of the House of Ecuadorian Culture’s First Prize in theater in 1950.
Saloya: novela de la montaña y el caminonovel1962Saloya was the winner of the Central University First Prize in 1963.
Historia crítica del teatro ecuatorianoliterary criticism/history1968
La Real Audiencia de Quito claustro en los Andeshistory1978
El huasipungo de Andrés Chiliquinga: drama basado en la novela Huasipungo de Jorge Icazaplay1981
Cinco errores históricos de Quitohistory1986
Síntesis histórico de la ciudad de San Pedro y San Pablo de Riobamba : estudio de sus fundaciones, nombres y ambiente colonialhistory1987
Historia de las misiones amazonicas de la Real Audiencia de Quitohistory1990
Historias de la Real Audiencia de Quito, Agua, higiene y medicina de la Quito colonialhistory1990
Historias de la Real Audiencia de Quito Alzamientos y revoluciones en la coloniahistory1990
Historias de la Real Audiencia de Quito Historia colonial de la Plaza Mayor (1990; history)history1990
Historia de la Real Audiencia de Quitohistory2010

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