A. K. Ramanujan was a poet and translator who studied linguistics, mythology, folklore, poetics, and South Indian and English literatures.
In his essays, poetry, translations, and teaching, his aim was to enhance communication among the speakers of Tamil, Kannada, and English languages. Published in England, the United States, and India, Ramanujan wrote many books, including several translations: Speaking of Siva (1973), Samskara (1976), Hymns for the Drowning (1981), and Poems of Love and War (1985). His books of poetry include Relations (1971), Selected Poems (1977), and Second Sight (1986). He was also editor of Folktales from India: A Selection of Oral Tales from Twenty-two Languages (1991), and co-editor of Another Harmony; New Essays on the Folklore of India (1986). The Collected Poems (1995), Collected Essays of A. K. Ramanujan (1999), and Uncollected Poems and Prose: A. K. Ramanujan (2001) were published after his death.
Ramanujan was the William E. Colvin Professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and was also a professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Linguistics.
Ramanujan received a B.A. (1949) and an M.A. (1950) from the University of Mysore, and a Ph.D. (1963) from Indiana University.