Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to his three novels, Ernesto Sábato (SAH-bah-toh) has published several volumes of essays. His career as a writer can be divided into two major periods. The first includes the publication of The Outsider, his first novel, and three volumes of essays: Uno y el universo (1945; one and the universe), Hombres y engranajes: Reflecciones sobre el dinero, la razón, y el derrumbe de nuestro tiempo (1951; men and gears: reflections on the money, the reason, and the collapse of our time), and Heterodoxia (1953; heterodoxy). The second period begins in 1961 with the publication of his novel On Heroes and Tombs and includes such collections of essays as El escritor y sus fantasmas (1963; the writer and his ghosts), Tango: Discusión y clave (1963; the tango: discussion and key), Tres aproximaciones a la literatura de nuestro tiempo: Robbe-Grillet, Borges, Sartre (1968; three approaches to the literature of our time: Robbe-Grillet, Borges, Sartre), Itinerario (1969; itinerary), and La convulsión política y social de nuestro tiempo (1969; political and social upheaval of our time).

During the time between these periods of major production, Sábato also produced two volumes largely devoted to political problems in Argentina: El otro rostro del peronismo (1956; the other face of Peronism) and El caso Sábato (1956; the case of Sábato), the last a collection of documents gathered by his friends to account for Sábato’s resignation of his post as editor of Mundo Argentino, an important weekly journal. Sábato had resigned to protest the policies of the provisional government that followed the overthrow of Juan Domingo Perón in 1955.

Metaphysical concerns are the subject of many of Sábato’s essays. Uno y el universo contains the idea that humans must reject the reductivity of positivistic science and return to a balance that incorporates the intuitive, the irrational, and the subjective. In Heterodoxia, there is a discussion of Jean-Paul Sartre, while Hombres y engranajes includes an essay on “The Existential Reaction” that discusses Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevski, Sartre, and Albert Camus—the pantheon of literary existentialism.