Ernesto Sabato is a good example of an intellectual for whom there are no borders. He won us over with his works, but also with his priceless speeches. The Argentine author managed to make everyone fall in love with his words, but he also explored other areas, such as science.
This is why we could define him as a versatile man who, in addition to entering into writing, has made a great contribution to science and has embraced philosophy. It has left its mark in every area of knowledge. It is for this reason that we have decided to dedicate an article to him that traces his life, part of his activity as a writer and his numerous contributions.
Life of Ernesto Sabato
Ernesto Sabato was born on June 24, 1911 in Rojas, Argentina. Coming from a middle-class family of Italian descent, he is the penultimate of eleven siblings.
He spent his first years as a student in Rojas; later he moved to La Plata, to finish his higher studies. Once this stage is over, he begins studying Physics at the University de la Plata. During his stay, he meets the one who will become his wife, and who will remain by his side throughout his life: we are talking about Matilde Kusmnsky Richther.
In 1934, Sabato was sent to Moscow as a delegate of the Argentine Communist Party. During his stopover in Brussels, he decides to escape and take refuge in Paris, the city where he devotes himself to writing for some time, only to later return to Buenos Aires to get married.
In 1937, he obtained his doctorate in Physical and Mathematical Sciences from the National University of La Plata. After earning his doctorate, he decides to continue with the research, moving to Paris. On May 25, 1938, his first son, Jorge Federico, was born.
The years of maturity
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War he was transferred to Massachusetts and in 1940 he returned to Argentina to devote himself to teaching at the University of La Plata, in the engineering department and with a specialization in relativity and quantum mechanics.
Only in 1943 – when he partially abandoned the scientific field to devote himself entirely to art – did he permanently move to the province of Córdoba, where he remained on a ranch without water or electricity. He stayed there quite a long time, dedicating himself to writing, while collaborating with some magazines and also to the elaboration of reviews.
The following years he devoted them mainly to writing. However, a severe blow throws Saturday’s life into the shadows: son Jorge Federico dies in a car accident in 1955 and his wife dies in 1998. Saturday lived a long life and died of pneumonia on April 30, 2011. , 55 days before his 100th birthday.
Ernesto Sabato, beyond writing
Ernesto Sabato is best known for his writings, but, as we have announced, he did not only explore this area. Let’s see how he was involved in other fields:
- Politics: for some years, he devoted himself to socialism; in fact, he was chosen as a delegate. However, in his last writings and in his last public appearances, he moved away from this current to move towards a society founded on individual freedom, decentralization and cooperation.
- Physics and Mathematics: He was granted a scholarship to conduct some research studies on atomic radiation at the Curie Laboratory in Paris. However, he turned away from science after coming into contact with surrealism, in Paris.
- Painting: as early as 1970, Sabato thought he had already given everything as a writer; moreover, a vision problem led him to abandon reading and writing to immerse himself in the world of painting.
Ernesto Sabato was very close to philosophy. His link came from the importance of knowledge, which he saw as the true source of freedom for the human being. As a result, he wrote several philosophy articles in which he criticized science, which unlike philosophy he saw as a source of dehumanization.
On the other hand, retracing the life of the Argentine writer, we can observe a strong inclination for social, cultural and political themes. Proof of this were the various prestigious roles he held; for example, he was director of UNESCO and Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post he resigned due to incompatibility.
Works by Ernesto Sabato
To label Ernesto Sabato solely as a writer would mean not doing him justice, not being entirely faithful to the incomparable intellectual activity that has distinguished him. However, there is no doubt that he is globally recognized and acclaimed for his lyrics. Below, we present a short selection of some of his most acclaimed works:
- The tunnel (1948) : it is a psychological novel narrated in the first person in which the author immerses himself in existentialism. In the narrative, the main character exposes the reasons that led him to commit a murder from prison. This novel was rejected by several publishing houses, but once published, it met with great acclaim, even from prominent personalities such as Albert Camus.
- Above Heroes and Tombs (1961). Written by Ernesto Sabato at the age of 50, it is considered the best Argentine novel of the twentieth century and deals with several parallel events that take place during Peronism. Saturday had thought of burning the text, but his wife dissuaded him.
- The Angel of the Abyss (1974). This work shows the writer in a more experimental light. It is an apocalyptic speech that recreates important successes in the history of Argentina, accompanied by world dramas of the twentieth century.
Awards and acknowledgments
Ernesto Sabato has also published several articles, most of which are of a philosophical nature. Among all, some of them of political breadth stand out, including: El otro rostro del Peronismo: Carta abierta to Mario Amedeo (or The other face of Peronism: open letter to Mario Amedeo) , in which he defended Evita Peron and his followers.
The recognition of important authors was not long in coming; many praised him for his work, he was quoted by several magazines and interviewed several times. It is therefore not surprising that he has received several awards. The main ones are:
- Grand Prize of the Argentine Society of Writers.
- Best Foreign Novel in Paris.
- Miguel de Cervantes Award.
Undoubtedly, Ernesto Sabato was an author who left his mark. His contribution to philosophy, science and politics has made him an unparalleled author. We hope this article invites you to make room for him in your bookstores (if you haven’t already), to get closer to his figure and to reflect on his wonderful texts.