Ernesto Sábato

Ernesto Sábato biography

Ernesto Sábato biography

Ernesto Sábato was born in Rojas, Argentina, on June 24, 1911. Sabato was a writer, physicist, essayist, and painter. He was tenth among eleven brothers. In 1917 he began his primary studies in the school of his native town. His Italian immigrant parents: Francesco Sábato his father, (very strict) and Giovanna Ma. Ferrari his mother, belonged to a middle-class family.

In 1924 he began his secondary studies at the National College of La Plata and in 1929 he entered the Faculty of Physical-Mathematical Sciences of the University of La Plata, in the year 1930 he became associated with anarchist groups and joined the Communist Party.  In 1933 he was elected Secretary General of the Communist Youth Federation, taught courses in Marxism, met Matilde Kusminsky with whom he contracted a civil marriage in 1936. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics and Philosophy courses in 1937 at the University of La Plata, where he was given an annual grant to carry out research work on atomic radiation at the Curie Laboratory in Paris.

On May 25, 1938, Jorge Federico, his first son was born.

Ernesto Sábato was transferred to the Technological Institute of Massachusetts in 1939, he left Paris before the outbreak of World War II and returned to Buenos Aires (Argentina), in 1940, dedicating himself to dictate postgraduate classes on quantum mechanics, at the University of La Plata. In 1941 he published his first article in the magazine Sur, on the initiative of Pedro Enríquez Ureña and in 1942 published his booklet Three Glosses, in the Editorial Teseo, de la Plata.

In the year of 1943 Ernesto Sábato, definitively left Science, to dedicate himself to Literature and Painting. He established in a house in the province of Córdoba were dedicated to writing, he wrote the essay: “Uno y el Universo.”

In 1945 he published Uno y el Universo, a series of philosophical articles criticizing the apparent moral neutrality of science, in the public South American Editorial. They also granted him the first Municipal Book Prize. The Argentine Society of Writers granted him the Grand Prize of Honor. That same year, his second son Mario was born, who years later would become a film director.

In 1947 Julián Huxley managed and obtained a position for Sábato at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, but he only worked there for two months and resigned to travel through Europe. On his return to his country, he wrote the first draft of El Túnel.

In 1948 the editorial Sur published El Túnel, a novel with a narrative that has undoubted originality and relevant psychological values, narrated in the first person. Framed in the existentialism, a philosophical current of much expansion in the postwar period. It was a novel quickly translated into various languages ​​and taken to the cinema.

The essay “Hombres y engranajes” was published in 1951 under the publisher Emecé, in Buenos Aires (Argentina). The same as the essay “Heterodoxy” published by the same publisher in 1953.

In the year of 1955, he was appointed the director of the magazine Mundo Argentino, resigned shortly after and his father died. In 1956 as a result of political events in Argentina, two books were written by Sabato: “The other face of Peronism” (open letter to Mario Amadeo) and “Torture and freedom of the press” (open letter to General Aramburu).

In 1958 he was appointed by Arturo Frondizi, General Director of Cultural Relations of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, resigning the following year due to disagreements with the government.

1961 Fabril Editora published “Sobre Héroes y Tumbas” considered one of the best Argentine novels of the 20th century.

In 1964 his mother María Ferri died. He also received the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, an order instituted by André Malraux.

His novel “Abaddon the Exterminator” was published in 1974 and in that same year, he received the Grand Prize of the Argentine Society of Writers (SADE). In 1976 he received the prize for the best foreign novel in Paris, for “Abaddon the Exterminator.” In Italy, he also received the Médici prize for the best foreign book, for the same novel in 1977. In 1978 he was awarded the Grand Cross for Civil Merit, in Spain and in 1979 he was distinguished in France as commander of the Legion of Honor.

At the request of President Alfonsín, he chaired the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons between 1983 and 1984, whose research is included in the book Nunca Más. In 1984 he received the “Miguel de Cervantes” Prize, the highest literary distinction granted to Hispanic writers, was the second Argentine writer to have had this recognition.

This same year he also received the Konex Award – Diploma of Merit as one of the five best novelists with works published before 1950 in the history of Argentina, received the Order of Boyacá in Colombia and the Gabriela Mistral Prize awarded by the OAS.

In 1986, he was awarded the Grand Cross of Officer of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1989 he was awarded the Premio Jerusalem in Israel and was named Doctor Honoris Causa, by the University of Murcia in Spain; The Universities of Rosario and San Luis de la Argentina in 1991, by the University of Turin (Italy) in 1995 and in 1996 by the National University of Río Cuarto (Argentina). In the year 1995 his son Jorge Federico died in a car accident and on September 30, 1998, his wife Matilde died and published his memoirs with the title: “Before the End.”

He was the first Spanish-language writer to publish a book for free on the Internet, presenting “La Resistencia” on 4 June 2000 on the website of Clarín newspaper. On April 30, 2011, at dawn, he died at his home in Santos Lugares (Argentina) at the age of 99 due to pneumonia. He was buried in the Garden Cemetery of Peace in the city called Pilar, with his wife and son. Ernesto Sábato represents a very particular human and literary phenomenon, a man committed to science and the politics of ethical values ​​such as the dignity of man, freedom of expression and democracy. His works are still discussed, analyzed and compared.



  • 1945 First prize of the Buenos Aires municipality (Argentina).
  • 1974 Grand Prize of Honor of the Argentine Society of Writers (SADE).
  • 1974 Knight of Arts and Letters (France).
  • 1975 Prize of National Consecration of Argentina.
  • 1976 Best Foreign Novel for “Abbadón the Exterminator”
  • 1977 Medici Prize (Italy).
  • 1978 Grand Cross to Civil Merit (Spain).
  • 1979 Knight of the Legion of Honor (France).
  • 1983 Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Order of Boyacá (Colombia), Gabriela Mistral Award (Organization of American States.
  • 1984 Miguel de Cervantes Prize (Spain).
  • 1986 Grand Officer of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 1987 Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).



  • 1848 The Tunnel.
  • 1961 On Heroes and Tombs.
  • 1974 Abaddon the Exterminator.
  • 1995 The Dragon and the Princess



  • 1945 One and the Universe.
  • 1951 Men and Gears.
  • 1952 Heterodoxy.
  • 1956 The Other Face of Peronismo.
  • 1956 The Sábato case: torture and freedom of the press. Tasting open to General Aramburu.
  • 1963 The Writer and his Ghosts.
  • 1963 Tango, discussion and clave.
  • 1967 Pedro Henríquez Ureña.
  • 1968 Three approaches to Literature.
  • 1974 Eduardo Falú.
  • 1975 Letter to a Young Writer.
  • 1979 Books and their mission in the liberation and integration of Latin America.
  • 1988 Between the Letter and the Blood.
  • 1998 Before the end.
  • 2000 The Resistance.
  • 2004 Spain in the diaries of my old age.



  • 1967 What is existentialism?
  • 1969 Itinerary.
  • 1971 Political codes.
  • 1973 Culture at the national crossroads.
  • 1974 Living pages.
  • 1982 Complete narrative.
  • 1989 The best of Ernesto Sábato.



  • 1966 Works of fiction.
  • 1970 Works of essay.
  • 1997 Complete works, Essays.
  • 1997 Complete works, Narrative.



  • 2002 The horizon before the abyss
  • 2002 Confessions of an old writer.



  • “I always feared the future, because in the future, among other things, there is death.”
  • “Every hour the power of the world is concentrated and globalized. The demonstration has wreaked havoc, it is already difficult to find originality in people and the same process is carried out in the villages, it is called globalization.”
  • ” The present begets the past”
  • “How much loneliness, how much pain there is in the history of art incomprehension and resentment of the mediocre!”

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