MacArthur Fellows Program

Arnold Rampersad

Biographer and Literary Critic | Class of 1991

Biographer and Literary Critic
Princeton, New Jersey
50 at time of award
Published July 1, 1991

About Arnold's Work

Arnold Rampersad is a biographer, an essayist, and a literary critic.

Rampersad has helped to define the field of African-American literary biography.  Known for his definitive work on Langston Hughes, the foremost poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Rampersad has focused on developing the meaning, purpose, and method of African-American biography and autobiography.  His work illuminates the literary, artistic, and social milieu of African-Americans within the context of the majority culture and society.  He is the author of The Art and the Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (1976), the two-volume study, The Life of Langston Hughes (1986, 1988), and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997).  He is co-author, with Arthur Ashe, of Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993) and the editor of the two-volume, unexpurgated edition of Richard Wright: Works (1991).  His biography of Ralph Ellison will be published in 2007.


Since 2003, Rampersad has been Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities at Stanford University, where he is also the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities in the Department of English.  He has taught at Rutgers University, Columbia University, and Princeton University, where he held the Woodrow Wilson Professorship of Literature.

Rampersad earned a B.A. (1967) from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. (1973) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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