Arnold Rampersad

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Arnold Rampersad
Born (1941-11-13) November 13, 1941 (age 74)
Trinidad and Tabago
Alma mater Bowling Green State University
Harvard University
Occupation Biographer, literary critic

Arnold Rampersad (born 13 November 1941) is a 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.[1]

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.

Rampersad graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor's degree and master's degree in English.[2] He earned a Ph.D from Harvard University.

His teaching covers such areas as 19th- and 20th-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.[3] In 2014, Arnold Rampersad won a Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.[4]

He is also the half-brother of Roger Toussaint, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 100.


  • The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (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, Rampersad has edited several volumes, including the following:


External links[edit]