Sábato, Ernesto

Sábato, Ernesto
(1911– )
   Argentine physicist, novelist, and essayist. Born in Rojas (Buenos Aires) into a large Italian-Albanian family. An early militancy in the Juventud Comunista during the years of the dictatorship of General José Félix Uriburu was disowned in the 1930s following accounts of Stalinist atrocities in the Soviet Union. Later he earned a doctorate in physics from the Universidad de La Plata (1938), where he also studied philosophy and literature under the noted educator and humanist Pedro Henriquez Ureña (Dominican Republic, 1884–1946). Upon graduation, Sábato was awarded a fellowship at the Joliot Curie Laboratory in Paris to pursue studies in nuclear physics. In 1940 he returned to Argentina as professor at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires. During this period, he also wrote for the literary journal Sur and the daily La Nación. A series of articles published in La Nación attacking the regime of Juan Perón forced him to abandon his post at the university in 1945. That year also marked the publication of his first collection of essays, Uno y el universo (1945), a critique of moral relativism and logical positivism inherited from another century. He would revisit this theme in Hombres y engranajes (1951), one of the most influential collections of essays in Latin America in the 1950s. A writer of great literary influence in his native Argentina and abroad, Sábato has published three novels: El tunnel (1948); Sobre héroes y tumbas (1961), considered one of the most important novels in Latin America in the 20th century; and Abaddón, el exterminador (1974), which presents a universe dominated by forces of evil, where resistance seems futile. A recipient of several important awards, Sábato received in 1984 the Premio Cervantes, the most prestigious literary award in Spain. In 1983 Sábato was named to the presidency of the Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (CONADEP, National Commission on the Disappeared), and directed the compilation of the report Nunca más, which detailed the atrocities perpetrated by the Argentine military against the civilian population.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

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