Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

When Sábato’s The Outsider was published in 1948, his name instantly gained international recognition. The novel was translated into French, English, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Romanian, Japanese, Danish, and German. It should be mentioned, however, that Sábato’s first public exposure was through his incisive essays published since 1940. These diverse essays have been collected in several volumes: Uno y el universo (1945; one and the universe), Hombres y engranajes (1951; men and gears), Heterodoxia, El Escritor y sus fantasmas (1963; the writer and his ghosts), El otro rostro del peronismo (1956; the other face of Peronism), El caso Sábato (1956; the case of Sábato), and Tango: Discusión y clave (1963; the tango: discussion and key). They are encyclopedic in nature and their topics cover art, literature, politics, philosophy, history, education, religion, science, mathematics, and literary style.

To understand the vastness of his writings it is necessary to remember Sábato’s academic background. He earned a doctorate in physics in 1938 and worked at the Curie Laboratory in Paris as well as at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Many of his essays reveal his disillusionment with the sciences early in his professional career. After all, according to the writer, pure science has not been able to alleviate man’s anguish at the prospect of death. In his essays and...

(The entire section is 468 words.)