He escaped in 1944 from Estonia to Germany and lived from 1949 onwards in the United States and from 1991 in Ireland.
He worked as a professor of Modern Languages and Literatures in the University of Oklahoma, writing mainly on Spanish language literature.
From 1967 to 1991 he was the editor-in-chief of the international literary quarterly World Literature Today (formerly Books Abroad) and directed its two affiliated biennial literary programs, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1970- ) and the Puterbaugh Conferences on Writers of the French-Speaking and Hispanic World (1968- ), later known as Puterbaugh Conference on World Literature.
- Lituanus. Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences. Volume 32, No. 1 - Spring 1986