A twentieth-century Estonian writer and translator, he is best known for his pause test theory, which posits that different English Renaissance playwrights placed pauses in their blank verse at different places, according to personal preference and unconscious habit. Oras' published works include Marie Under and Estonian Literature in Exile.
He studied at Tartu University and Oxford University.
He published The Critical Ideas of T.S. Eliot in 1932.
He was raised in Tallinn, Estonia. He died in the United States after teaching for a decade at the University of Florida.
He translated the poems of John Milton.