Arnold Rampersad (born 13 November 1941) is an American biographer and literary critic born in Trinidad and Tobago. The first volume (1986) of his Life Of Langston Hughes was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and his Ralph Ellison: A Biography was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award.
Rampersad is currently Professor of English and the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. He was Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities from January 2004 to August 2006. As Senior Associate Dean, he was responsible for the full array of departments in the humanities, including Art & Art History, Asian Languages, Classics, Comparative Literature, Drama, French and Italian, German Studies, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Slavic Languages and Literature, and Spanish and Portuguese.*
Professor Rampersad was a member of the Stanford English Department from 1974 to 1983, before accepting a position at Rutgers University. Since then he taught there and at Columbia and Princeton before returning to Stanford in 1998.
His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature; the literature of the American South; American and African-American autobiography; race and American literature; and the Harlem Renaissance. From 1991 to 1996, he held a MacArthur "genius grant" fellowship. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society. In 2007, he published a biography of Ralph Ellison (1914–1994). In 2010, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal.
- The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois (Harvard, 1976)
- The Life of Langston Hughes (Oxford, 2 vols., 1986, 1988)
- Days of Grace: A Memoir (Knopf, 1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe
- Jackie Robinson: A Biography (Knopf, 1997)
- Ralph Ellison: A Biography (Knopf, 2007)
In addition, he has edited several volumes including the following:
- Collected Poems of Langston Hughes,
- the Library of America edition (2 vols.) of works by Richard Wright, including revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy
- Slavery and the Literary Imagination (as co-author)
- Race and American Culture (co-editor with Shelley Fisher Fishkin) - of the book series published by Oxford University Press
- Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes (co-editor with David Roessel) (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 2006)