Ram Vilas Sharma was an eminent progressive literary critic, linguist, poet and thinker. He was born in Unchgaon Sani, Unnao District, Uttar Pradesh.
He came into limelight as a critic in 1939 with his scholarly paper on Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', presented at a session of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Ram Vilas Sharma was undisputedly among the most powerful noted poets of the progressive period.
He received his early education in his native village and at Jhansi. For higher studies he went to Lucknow and did his M.A. and PhD. in English Literature.
He started his career as a lecturer at Lucknow University, and then moved to Balwant Rajput College, Agra, as head of the English department. He retired finally as Director of KM Hindi Institute, Agra. Basically a critic, he gave new dimension to biographical-historical criticism, and analysed linguistic and literary issues from a Marxist viewpoint.
His study of Nirala's Ram ki shakti puja, Tulsidas, Saroj-smriti and parimal is a model of creative criticism. He won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1970 for his Nirala ki Sahitya Sadhana (in 3 parts). His massive work Bharat ke Pracheen bhasha parivar aur Hindi won him the first Vyas Samman (1991) instituted by the K. K. Birla Foundation. He was Socialist both in thought and deed.
Among the Hindi writers those who impressed him most, besides Nirala the poet, are Acharya Shukla the critic, Bhartendu the pione..